Our adult son with special needs has been taking riding lessons at Equi-Ed for many, many years. Although he has not progressed as fast as other riders have due to his significant challenges which are increasing, Equi-Ed continues to play an invaluable role in his life. He has to travel a long distance to get to Equi-Ed each week but we believe what Equi-Ed provides is worth it. The staff and volunteers are caring, patient, supportive, and well-trained. The horses are gentle and equally as patient. Every relationship in our son's life is a treasure and there is much to treasure in this stellar non-profit.
When I was a working farrier and Paso Fino trainer, I would always discount my services to Equi –Ed because I felt that they were doing so much good for their clients. Little did I know that my career would come to an end when in 2005, I lost my ability to walk and was diagnosed with MS and became an Equi-Ed client myself. When Max and her crew put me on an Equi-ed horse and lead me about the arena, I was amazed how it gave the sensation of walking. It was as if the horse’s legs were an extension of my own and my focus became one of maintaining balance. Straddling the saddle was in itself a therapeutic exercise. After dismount my legs would always feel stronger somehow. For me, just the touch of the horse, feeling the warmth of his breath and velvety softness of his muzzle gave me an exhilarating feeling that stayed with me for days.
Thank you Equi-Ed for the work that you do.
Equi-ed has been a place of learning and acceptance for our daughter who is intellectually disabled. For the past 10 years, Equi-Ed has provided a safe and fun environment where she can gain skills, not just in riding horses, but in following instructions, working on balance and core strength, and using communication skills with instructors as well as horses. Equi-Ed is a unique non-profit in that it benefits a range of students with a variety of abilities and allows all participants to gain self-confidence and skills in horsemanship. It is a special place, indeed!
Equi-Ed has been a part of our daughter's life for over 7 years now. In spite of cognitive disabilities, she is able to ride horses at Equi-Ed competently, demonstrate the ability to follow directions, and connect with these gentle animals in a way that empowers her on a weekly basis. The staff at Equi-Ed is knowledgeable, patient and accepting of differences. I would highly recommend this incredible program to children and adults alike! Equi-Ed is a place where amazing things happen...and lives are changed!
Equi-Ed is a life-saver! They give my daughter the opportunity to be challenged in a supportive environment. She has developed much more confidence in herself thanks to the work she's done with the horses and teachers. Equi-Ed has become an integral part of my daughter's therapy. We don't know what we'd do without them!
I am a parent of a child taking lessons at Equi-Ed right now. My daughter has gained a huge amount of confidence and is much better at dealing with her emotions. All of the therapies we have tried over the last three years have not even come close to the results we've seen with therapeutic horse back riding at Equi-Ed. Truly, they have helped our entire family. We will be forever indebted to Shelia, Max, Sade, and all of the volunteers who make Equi-Ed possible.
I found Equi-Ed through my Military support group which I had been attending as a physically disabled veteran. I have MS, (multiple sclerosis), which is an Acquired Brain Damage disease causing less ability in deductive reasoning and thinking; muscle spasms and lack of balance. As all of these things happened to me. I became more and more depressed.
I had ridden with an equestrian therapy program for a short while before I was as disabled as I am now, so I was a little afraid to try. I came out and met all the folks that work and volunteer out there, and they wholeheartedly convinced me to do it! I came back happier with a whole different outlook! They helped me! I got better! I gained confidence and strength! I really felt like a part of a team and not a burden to be led around on a horse; I was riding and in command of my horse. Equi-Ed is such a big part of what I do now, that I work out at the gym to be strong for my next ride. They give love, lessons and help from the heart!!!
My son with Asperger's (high functioning autism) has been riding with Equi-Ed for two sessions. He didn't really get into the usual team or individual sports, but loves horseback riding and is always happy about going to his lessons. The walking motion of the horse has a calming effect on him and he usually falls asleep in the car after his lesson. He really loves it when he gets to trot on the horse. It puts a big smile on his face. His goal is to be able to take the reins and direct the horse on his own while walking and trotting. The staff are patient with him and carefully instruct him in safety and communication with the horse and volunteers. They also offer many other ways to be involved as a client from holiday parades, to parties and barbeques, fund raising activities, and movie nights! It is fun to be a part of the Equi-Ed "family". Thank you Equi-Ed!!
Our son went from a timid boy to a confident boy through his participation in the Eqi-Ed therapeutic riding program. All the volunteers are kind and knowledgable. The staff build in opportunities for kids to work on IEP academic goals. Equi-Ed is the best!
Equi-Ed provides my autistic daughter with an activity that she loves, that builds her sense of independence and accomplishment. She has been riding with Equi-Ed for 14 years!! We love it!
Since being served by Equi-Ed my daughter has made huge gains with her speech, attention and posture. She lights up every time we pull up the barn. Thank you Equi-Ed!
I am the parent of one of the children who took lessons from Equi-Ed. My daughter also volunteered. THe program is terrific and my daughter finally found friends she could relate to as she was having a very difficult time at school. The horses, instructors, and volunteers gave her much needed confidence which helped her greatly in school. She loved the program. I am very grateful for programs like these.
My daughter is a special needs child and she started Equi-Ed a couple of years ago. I had heart about the organization at a Santa Rosa Junior College event. IT sounded perfect for my daughter and she had a wonderful time. The horses are terrific and the volunteers are more terrific. She was also with children like herself and could be herself. At regular school she was picked on quite a bit so this was a blessing for her. She is now in high school and doing sports, etc and I feel Equi-Ed gave her the ability to believe in herself.
My son has been with Equi Ed for almost a year and it has been a total pleasure working with the entire Equi Ed Team. My son was instantly comfortable with the volunteers and has enjoyed every lesson. They are kind, caring and very patient with him. We have seen huge gains with him and his engagement with others as well as speech. We will not only continue to work with them but we would recommend them to our friends!
I started off as a client of Equi-Ed, by way of the Adapted PE Dept at SRJC. I had a brain surgery that changed me and my balance, hearing, coordination, view of myself, confidence, quite a few things changed in my life for me. I really took to the horses, staff, classmates and they liked me! We all had such a great time that semester! My balance became steadier, my coordination grew, things got better. It wasn't quick, like in the movies, but I did Improvise, Adapt, Modify, Overcome! I saw and felt how great this program was that I took the Volunteer Class and became a Volunteer. I admired so much how the Volunteers had helped me. I wished and hoped I could be like them. I could start off as a Sidewalker for students and work in the barns with the horses. Just like being a client, I copied everyone until I had it down for myself. Earning the right to Volunteer was a huge self esteem boost and confidence builder for me. Today, I wish I lived closer so I could come in and help more at Equi-Ed. I am a different person now, I am doing much better.....No other program/therapy/activity I have done has given me what Equi-Ed has given back to me. My life really changed for the positive the first day I was a client. Thank you to every single person for all your kind help. Sincere heartfelt appreciation for every horse.
My son has been a client with Equi-Ed since he was 3 years old; he is now 9 years old and still loves it! They perform an amazing service to kids with special needs and I feel the volunteers get a lot of out of it too! This is a small organization with a big heart :) They have a wonderful riding program and I have seen what it does for my son. He used to be afraid of all animals and I think he has finally learned to appreciate animals and not fear them. In addition my son had very low tone and his core strength was very weak. I do feel that in addition to other therapies, horseback sessions with Equi-Ed made a difference in his core strength. He is more social and interactive then when he first started and has smile when he's there riding. The volunteers are amazing and they give their heart and soul to these kids and the horses. They make you feel like part of the family by offering opportunities to volunteer and hold many events for everyone to come and support the organization: BBQs, auctions, the tractor parade in Calistoga, and so much more. I highly recommend them for your son or daughter.
I took Equi-Ed for 3 years because it helped me build my confidence level and self-esteem. I was having trouble with people making fun at me in Middle School and I was feeling real bad about myself. My parents felt that since I like horses this program would be a big help for me. I felt that it was great because I met people like myself and nobody judged me. The kids that I met were friendly and respectful. Sheila and Max are the most amazing and wonderful leaders of this organization that I ever met. After I finished my lessons I decided to Volunteer and I did that for a year. I had a wonderful time and it was a great experience.
My daughter started therapeutic riding with Equi-Ed about 3 years ago. The staff has always been amazingly accommodating to her needs & our varying schedule. They are kind, yet just tough enough & always seem to know just how far to push her so she can succeed. Since starting with Equi-Ed, her self-esteem & confidence have grown. We see her try new things with a feeling that she will succeed. Her posture & balance have also benefited. We have great appreciation for everyone at Equi-Ed: Max & Sheila, the volunteers, & of course the extremely patient horses!
My daughter has ridden at Equi-Ed for the past 3 years. During that time, we have seen an improvement in her social skills, math skills & best of all, her confidence. She loves the horses & all the people that work with her. She is treated with respect, kindness, & as a valuable person. We can't recommend this program enough.
My daughter was given the opportunity to expand her self-esteem and physical abilities by participating at Equi-Ed as a rider, vaulter, and volunteer. She learned how to respect the horses and herself. The staff and volunteers at Equi-Ed gave my daughter constant encouragement and confidence to challenge herself in attempting new skills with the horses. I am grateful to Equi-Ed in offering a powerful therapeutic program that develops more than just physical abilities for everyone involved. A special "Bravo" to the horses! thanks from Lorna and Hana
My daughter lacked oxygen before and during the birthing process which affected all her development growth - mild cerebral palsy. She participated in traditional therapy until she got sick at age 10 with a rare disease that almost made her crippled. We searched for a different therapy method to help her recooperate her ability to walk. We found Equi-Ed, where not only has she been able to regain her leg strength, but also develop better coordination of her whole body. The most empowering element of this program is watching my daughter express excitement and self-confidence with the horses. Now, she has also found a purpose to work harder at school so she can have a career working with horses.
Equi-Ed is amazing - from the dedicated volunteers and gentle horses to the wonderful and incredibly organized staff! My son is autistic and I had been searching for a program that offered social skills, physical activity and fun for him. We had looked at a few different program, but knew that when we met Sheila at Equi-Ed, this was a great program. He looks forward to riding every week, and we've seen improvement in his social interactions and ability to follow directions. I can't say enough about how great the staff and volunteers are.
My daughter, who had a lot of psychological barriers, which kept her very lonely and lacking in self confidence, has found a safe, nurturing program, through the wonderful staff and volunteers. After only 6 months of riding she has regained her self confidence, feels proud of her accomplishments and is venturing into relationships with other peers. Thank you so much Equi-Ed!
Equi-Ed is a physical and emotional oasis for me. Thanks to my granddaughter, who is a passionate equestrian, I began taking lessons at Equi-Ed a few months ago. In addition to the normal aging process (I am 67 years old), nine surgeries have meant a significant loss of suppleness and chronic pain. With the knowledge and compassionate support of certified trainer Max, physical therapist Diane, and trusty sidekick Jennifer, I am beginning to communicate with my body again by learning to communicate with the horse. What fun! What Equi-Ed accomplishes with limited financial resources is nothing short of amazing! They support us with professionalism, consistency, and always good grace. My riding lesson is the highlight of my week!
My autistic daughter is 17 years old and has been riding horses at Equi-ed for the past 10 years. It's a highlight of her week. In addition to having fun, riding has taught her patience and control of her body. She's learned to control the horse independently and is quite proud of her ability to do so. She has limited language, but knows "walk on," "trot," "whoa," "helmet," "reins."