Over 10 years ago, I read an article in the local newspaper describing Dream Catcher Stables and the services it provides to handicapped individuals. I called Sanna Roling, president and founder of Dream Catcher Stables and offered to volunteer. My granddaughter who was 12 at the time, and a horse lover, and I headed for the stables the next weekend. It took only that Saturday morning working with the athletes and horses for us to be hooked. It is truly amazing to watch the athletes and the horses interact with one another.
Our organization is made up of caring, dedicated volunteers who truly love what we do.
I have met athletes of all ages with varying degrees of disabilities. All have touched my heart. Their determination and desire to learn are inspiring and heartwarming. Many of the athletes and volunteers and their families have become lifetime friends. I had one mother of two autistic children tell me that Dream Catchers was one of the few places she could take her children and not feel like she was being judged.
One of our athletes, who was confined to a wheel chair, usually was not very talkative. Once he was sitting on a horse, he became a chatterbox. I overheard him talking with my granddaughter while she was holding his horse while waiting for his turn to compete. He turned to me and asked, "Do you know why I like to ride horses"? He went on to say that when he rode a horse he felt like a normal kid. That was one of the many "Wow" moments I have had while volunteering with this organization. I cannot describe the feeling I get when I see a rider's pride and sense of accomplishment when they have ridden in the one of the competitions our organization attends.
All of the donations our organization receives go for maintaining healthy horses and the continuation of our program. We are an all volunteer organization.
mSeven years ago my youngest daughter needed volunteer hours for Honor society and this organization was recommended by a co-worker. With my daughters years of horsemanship experience this was a perfect niche. We have both been active volunteers in this program and found the experience to be very rewarding,. As a parent of a severly disabled older daughter I can appreciate the struggles of our athletes parents. The athletes not only learn to ride but bond with the horses by grooming and even bathing them. Through this process they development communication skills, bond with their fellow athletes and their parents are rewarded with smiles rather disruptive behavior. Many of the athletes are autisitic and changes in their routine pose a major challenge. We have seen tremendous changes in some of these athletes and the elation of parents who have struggled with their childs limitations.
Our services are provided to athletes of every economic background.
I would recommend this program to athelets and volunteers of all ages.
My wife and I have been volunteers at Dream Catchers for the last three years. The total dedication of the program and volunteers is helping students with disabilities to grow in abilities and self confidence. There is no glory or pride among members of the team. As typical of an all volunteer program there is a constant challenge to provide the best program for the students with the limited funds available .
Dreamcatchers stables has helped my 11 year old daughter , when she first started 2 years ago our life after school was very hard there was lots of crying and yelling ,I think due to the frustrations that come along with having a learning disability. This year she has been able to ride often because the weather has held out for us as a result she has gained more confidence and is joining clubs at school now.-Mandy , I
My daughter started this program because of someone recommending Dreamcatchers when I was sharing about her learning disorder. I couldn't ask for more, Sanna takes the time for this because she truly believes in it and I'm so greatful.
I am a volunteer at Dream Catcher Stables. I feed our nine beautiful horses two days a week. On weekends I help with the riding and horsemanship programs we offer to disabled and handicapped young folks and adults. I am retired and now have time to do more things that I enjoy but my time is not limitless. I am grateful for my situation in life and feel that I want to include some amount of community service in my activities. This is not a perfect world and there are many people, animals, and organizations that need help. The Government can’t meet everyone’s needs though it might try. I know I am only one person but I want to do my part. Volunteering takes time, energy, and sometimes money and it can mean a lot of hard work. I am happy that I became acquainted with Dream Catcher Stables several years ago and have made volunteering there a meaningful part of my life. Over the years I have met many wonderful people through the program including generous volunteers and serious athletes who want to do their best regardless of their limitations. It is truly amazing to see how the interaction of the athletes and our horses has such positive results. In many of our athletes, I have witnessed improved confidence, self-esteem, and physical strength. Their family members often tell us how the experiences at our barn have positively affected their lives at home, and school, or work. We are a small organization but we are providing services to an ever growing number of athletes. We have aspirations of growing our facilities to better serve our athletes and meet the future demands. It is rewarding to be a part of an organization that manages its limited assets well and offers so much with very little.
Three years ago we were searching for an experience for our developmentally disadvantaged sister. She loves animal and expressed interest in riding a horse. She lives in a group home in Louisiana and after finding Dream Catchers my sister and I have alternated driving 150 miles each way every other weekend for her to ride and participate in Dream Catchers programs. She has gained confidence, better balance, and pride of accomplishment. She has been accepted as a peer in a world where she is sometimes dismissed because of her disabilities. She has been able to participate in the Houston Rodeo program with Dream Catchers for three years and is very proud of the trophies and ribbons she has won. Dream Catchers has been an answer to our prayers for giving her a better life.
The fact that we even found Dream Catcher Stables is God's intervention. My daughter and I were sitting in a surgical center waiting for another one of her surgeries when we met someone from this program. My daughter was 4 at the time and knows no stranger. She will talk to anyone and this person happened to be waiting beside us. They started talking to us and this person invited us to come try out the program when she turned 5.
My daughter has some pretty severe developmental delays and balance issues. I wasn't sure how it would go but figured we would try it out. I was kind of nervous to put her on the horse that first day but was pleasantly surprised. My child who sometimes will stumble and fall just randomly on the ground has almost perfect balance on the horse.
Dream Catcher Stables is quite a drive from our house but we make the trip most weekends that weather permits. There are other programs closer but none that offer such individual service at such an affordable price. My daughter loves coming here and loves working with Sanna. I cannot say enough good things about them.
Her balance has definitely improved since starting. To me, though, one of the best things is my daughter is able to have something that she can do. She isn't really able to play sports like most kids can but this is something she can be involved in and in a few years they will even teach her to compete.
Catching Life’s Real Dreams
Picture the aura when an angry youth currently taking a negative life path realizes he is doing so because he was outside playing when his mother died. For six long years he blamed himself for her death. At Dream Catcher Stables he finally opened his thoughts in the presence of his father. They both began to heal.
Answer the phone and hear a mother say, “Can we come back? Because of you my son can walk. (Eight years had passed since I first met the family.) Later they wrote a review which I quote in part here with minor spelling and punctuation changes
“… We are so blessed growing with this program. Dream Catchers is absolutely a genuine non-profit program that help the disabled grow, build faith, patience, and inspire not to give up - everyone has a purpose in life. The program is fun and exciting. My son enjoyed and also my family watching the progress. …”
Receive a note that says in part “because of this program I am no longer in [mental] hospitals.”
Coaching a person with traumatic brain injury to learn to ride and watching year after year as the awards are usually last place, until one year when his world IS IN ORDER, he wins not one but two first place awards. A fluke? No. He did it again the next year.
For nearly 30 years I have been teaching youth and now also adults with disabilities to ride and care for horses. Establishing three different organizations during that time, today I devote my volunteer efforts (and money) to Dream Catcher Stables, Inc www.dreamcatcherstables.org. With the mission: “ To provide a place in perpetuity...” last year Dream Catcher Stables took the first steps to a major capital campaign which will do just that – provide a permanent home for the program.
Retired I now get to follow my passion and impart that passion to others. With nine loving horses and a group of dedicated volunteers, at 72 this all-volunteer public charity gives me a reason to get up every day. My duties include feeding, cleaning stalls, teaching lessons, and untold hours of administrative and fundraising efforts.
Though I will never know just how many lives I have truly touched I can tell you that families now interact with their member with a disability in more public ways because they have seen the capabilities that abound. Youth with disabilities mature into goal oriented adults capable of helping themselves and their community.
Recent reviews give a glimpse of the warm, fuzzy feelings of accomplishment that I have every day because of Dream Catcher Stables, Inc.
“I have seen this organization grow from a grass field to a professional organization that helps children of all ages and backgrounds. No one is ever turned away for lack of funds. I have watched children's lives become more fulfilling and watched them come alive in this therapy! I have seen a kid headed down the wrong path turn around when he won a belt buckle! I believe this was the 1st time in his life anyone cared and it was all due to Dream Catchers! Hours and hours have been put in by volunteers. This is a very happy place, very kind and very educational program! “
“My son was in his first rodeo thanks to Sanna and Dream Catcher Stables. He had the time of his life and loves looking at his trophies and reminiscing about his next rodeo.”
“…My Dream for her is to live as independently as possible and Dream Catchers will have played a very important part in that.” Through horses, this young person with Down syndrome now is an integral part of her school’s cheerleading squad.
“My son has Autism and was having a lot of problems in school. When Sanna Roling, the President, of Dream Catcher's Stables Inc., heard about our sons problems, she informed my husband and I about her program. We are very grateful for her, her vision of Dream Catcher Stables, and the volunteers that come out each week to assist the riders. She services individuals both children and adults with physical and mental disabilities and truly cares about each rider and their families. She doesn't turn anyone away and is very professional. We are so glad that we heard about this program. She puts 100% of the donations into her program and isn't looking for a profit like so many other therapy programs. Our son looks forward to riding the horses and seeing Mrs. Roling. He is learning a lot from being in her program.” More importantly, he went from being a major challenge for his schoolteachers to being a model student.
I keeping with the legacy of my parents, I have definitely found a place where I can be useful and leave this world a better place for having been here.
Review from #MyGivingStory
As the President, Founder, and Lead Instructor, I continue to be amazed at the results attained. In the beginning, I believe that self esteem and physical issues would improve. What I've discovered is that families, not just persons with disabilities, are enriched. Volunteers learn to accept and treat persons with disabilities as people with possibilities. Most recently I had the opportunity to provide place where a paraplegic with horsemanship knowledge could come and be independent -- on the ground and on the horse. You just had to be there for this one. My athlete/volunteer groomed my horses and then rode proving once again that people who daily move around on wheels are just like people who walk on two legs. To think that the whole picture was viewed by a youth completing adjudicated community service.
As a Special Educator by profession, this program shows all of the time that inclusion rather than exclusion is appropriate.
Dream Catchers been apart my son life during the time he was struggling to walk at age 7 now walking at age 18. We are so bless growing with this program. Dream Catchers is absolutely a genuine non-profit program that help the disabled grow build faith, patients, and inspire not to give up everyone has a purpose in life. The program is fun and exciting. My son enjoyed and also my family watching the progress. The journey was a purpose and I want to say Thank you Mrs. Sana Roling.
My son was in his first rodeo thanks to Sanna and Dream Catcher Stables. He had the time of his life and loves looking at his trophies and reminiscing about his next rodeo. Sanna and her volunteers are wonderful and do not expect anything in return.
Mrs. Roling and Dream Catcher Stables appeared in our lives aprox. 7 years ago. Thanks to the dedication of the president (Mrs. Roling) , volunteers, athletes and their families our lives have been changed for the better. The practice of horse-therapy has been of great benefit for our son (with autism), since then he has participated in the Houston Rodeo, Special Olympics, and the most important activity of all is real connection with people, the wonderful improvement in social skills. our most honest gratefulness to you Mrs. Roling.
I met the President of this organization as a freshman in high school in 2005 with the intentions of helping her and her helping me with an FFA equine project, and since then it has grown into so much more. Throughout high school I was a loner, depressed, I had family troubles and not many people I could consider friends; I felt like I was continuing to spiral downward. Since that first visit out there, I knew there was something about that property that had caught my attention and wouldn't let me drown. Almost ten years later, and I am still amazed at the changes, not just in the athletes that come to visit, but the volunteers, the families, the property, and even in myself. I look back at my years in high school and am extremely grateful for the day that I met Sanna and was introduced into the program. I know if it weren't for her and her dreams, the athletes that we'd catch singing as they rode around pond, the hugs we'd get right before they left, and the smiles we would see from the moment someone exited their car to the moment they left - that I would not be here to give thanks. I am proof that this program is not just for the athletes and the therapy, but for the volunteers and families that come to visit and end up becoming family as well.
Dream Catcher Stables is a wonderful place where those with physical and mental disabilities can ride and interact with horses. The stable is very flexible and can adapt to an individual rider's needs, whether the rider is fairly independent or needs additional support such as sidewalkers. There is a long wheelchair ramp so those with mobility issues can mount the horses easily. The horses are good-natured and when not working are allowed to graze and roam on the property, which has a pond and many trees. The volunteers are happy to pitch in whereever they are needed and seem to truly enjoy grooming the horses and assisting the riders. The founder and president is a positive, enthusiastic lady who welcomes everyone and really cares about people. Children in particular are motivitated to work on motor skills or emotional issues, motivated by the warm acceptance of the horses. This riding program brings peace and joy to riders and volunteers alike.
My husband and I have been volunteering with Dream Catcher Stables Inc for 6 months now. I can't recall what we did with that time before. The athletes, horses and volunteers have become part of our week that we so look forward to. Our Sunday mornings are full of peacefulness, love and joy.
A little hard work given by our hands and a lot of reward in return. I cannot speak highly enough of this fulfilling endeavor and the vital role this charity plays in developing the riders abilities, confidence, strength and skill.
We've not only become part of the team of Dream Catchers but we've also got to know the riders and their families. We feel part of a vital community. I have learned so much through doing this and really encourage anyone to take part with us. You will love it too.
Sanna Roling has done a terrific job getting this vital program launched many years ago. It needs to continue!
I cannot believe the benefit my son and daughter have received since starting with Dream Catcher Stables 5 years ago. My son has a brain injury and is very limited in the types of activies he is able to participate in. All the volunteers and staff are always so helpful in making sure he has a safe and enjoyable experience with horses. He has competed in several competitions and talks about the experience to almost every he sees. My daughter has benefited as well as a volunteer and also now as a competitor. She just recently competed in a tough comptetition and did extremely well. Her only horse riding experience has been with Dream Catcher's.
Dreamcatchers provides opportunities for persons of all ages, abilities, without regard to the athletes ability to pay for the service.
I am so glad that my wife and I found Dreamcatchers because volunteering there has been a sort of therapy for us too. After a rough week at the office, helping with the athletes and horses is very theraputic.
This is such a wonderful organization! Sanna, the founder, is so passionate and gives people a chance to enjoy the outdoors and interact with horses. These children are all smiles from ear to ear.
Dreamcatchers is so very beneficial to handicap children and at risk students. It gives them a chance to succeed, learn independence, and become more self-reliant. It provides the children the ability to increase physical stamina and develop a work ethic however limited.
As an aunt to a special needs nephew, I knew when I first volunteered at Dream Catcher Stables what I would find upon my arrival. I would and did find dedicated, loving, hard working students who find their personal outlet for success and freedom to do something they love and is so important to them. At Dream Catcher, they can be themselves. Their love for the horses and the respect for their instructors is more than obvious. All one has to do is look into the eyes and faces of each one and see how important it is to them to be there. Dream Catcher helps instill courage and faith in each person as they endeavor to do all they can to be successful in their efforts at horsemanship. Being there gives them their own place to be and the dedication to those efforts brings them more success each time they cross through the gates. Dream Catcher instructors give each student their personal chance to excel and they do! I am very proud to volunteer at such a hard-working, dedicated equestrian learning center! If you know someone who could use a personal outlet for a learning experience, Dream Catcher Stables is the place to go! JMS
My son started when he was 5. We thought that he was not intrested in the horses at first, but after about 7 visits he began to show how he really felt. After the ride/class he hugged the horse around the belly and said, "Good Boy! Good Boy!" and he still does it today. He loves this place!
I am special needs person and have been a client of Dreamcatcher for over 3 years. This group has helped me very much in understanding that if I try to succeed at something, I can probably accomplish my goal one way or another. They let me work at my own pace but give me support and encouragement so that I can progress a little bit more every time I go to my sessions.
Dreamchatchers has been perfect for my grandchildren. My special needs grandson has gained self confidence and has truly enjoyed hs time with the program. My grandaugdter has developed a love of helping others , as well as developing horsemanship skills.
I have assisted from time to time with Newsletters for the Dream Catcher organization. I work with one of the Board Members. I have attented the Dream Catcher "Top Hands" competition that runs concurrent with the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. It is so very rewarding to see what these young men and women accomplish. It is heart warming to see the pure joy on the faces of the riders as they compete in their trail riding competition and to watch how very seriously they are dedicated to perfection in their showmanship competition. And the way that their smiles light up when they win a trophy! ! ! It is such a blessing that Ms. Roling was able to organize this group of volunteers. The benefits to the physical and mental well being for the riders is so evident. This program offers them the opportunity to leave their feelings of being "different" behind. While they are mounted, they are kings and queens of the arena and it shows in their enthusiasm!
The Dream Catcher organization provides an ancilary benefit to the community by giving at risk kids the opportunity to volunteer to fulfill community service requirements. There have been many, many of these volunteers who have continued to volunteer long after their required service hours have been met.
Dream Catcher Stables simply provides a win-win situation from all aspects.
It has been my deepest pleasure working with Dream Catcher stables over the last several years. It is a shining example of what a few hard working people can do when they set their mind to it. My children have been showing and riding horses with Dream Catcher for several years. The amount of enjoyment my children have received from participating with the horses is unexplainable. Every Saturday, my children are up early and ready to go ride their horses. It is the highlight of their week.
Dream Catcher does so much for the riders but also for its volunteers. i started going there at the age of 12 and dont think id be the same without the people ive met there. seeing the happy faces of all the other volunteers and athletes, it makes my whole week better. I met my best friend here and after 6 years ive met so many nice people.
This program brings such joy to so many kids. They create a special bond with the volunteers and the horses. Riding and caring for the horses gives them great confidence and a sense of achievement. What a rewarding outlet for so many different types of people.
It is refreshing to see programs like this in action.
I have absolutely never experienced what you can share at Dream Catcher stables. There is nothing like the joy I see in the face of someone who has spent their life struggling with disabilities. Every weekend these kids leave their daily routine and struggles to be free. Free of wheelchairs, braces and issues of restraint. They truly love it there and it shows everyday. This all volunteer organization is a winner and will always have my support. I have personally seen what hippo- therapy can do through my daughter Callie. it did way more than any other therapy she has ever received. I believe and you will too if you come to Dream Catcher Stables.
This is an all-volunteer run hippo-therapy organization that really achieves it's goals. They pay no money for staff or organizational activities, yet they are able to provide amazing experiences for children and adults with a wide variety of disabilities. No one is ever made to feel "less than" and that includes clients or their parents. The horses make no judgments, either, of course. They just give and receive the love that is such a big part of this entire operation.
When I am feeling anything negative and just need to "hug a horse," this is where I come.
I always leave feeling like I can conquer the world.