My name is Wayne and I am a nursing student at Keiser University in Jacksonville and we volunteer Haven horse ranch for some of our clinical hours. I will say that this program is awesome, the way that the kids react to getting therapy on horse back is amazing and no doubt increases the therapeutic effect of the activates performed. I came here for the first time not knowing what to expect, and after a couple of days of observation I can honestly say that my expectations of what equine therapy is and what it can do have been greatly exceeded. I would encourage anyone to come out and give this place a try, you will not be disappointed.
This is a wonderful nonprofit organization that works hard for special needs children, and does a great job at it! The staff is friendly , knowledgeable and always willing to help. The kids I have seen at the ranch love it, they love the staff and they love their horses! Haven Horse ranch is a great place to volunteer and ride and learn at. I would recommend it to anyone!
When you first come upon the place you can't help but notice an atmosphere of peace and calm. Some where that you take all your cares and fore get them for a while. Don't be fooled there is a lot going on. The horses are being fed, groomed. Stalls are being mucked, new saw and shaving spead. Riding lessons, therapy, individual and group.
What I would like to focus on is the group of boys that I help with. It is a six week program that uses the ranch and horses, plus lessons about responsibility and accountability. It is amazing to see a young man scared to death of a horse and in two days riding and being in control of a two thousand pound animal. Seeing the light in the eyes when they know that they have cracked the code of the language of the horse.
The big tough guy seeing that he is not all that and that he has to work with a team to accomplish his goal.
The six week period reach each of the boys to a different degree, some have asked and have been mentors to following groups. We have had contact from the parents of some the boys that gone the program thanking us, telling thaT the difference in their son was like night Nad day.
I pray this work continues
I am constantly amazed with how God is using Haven Horse Ranch to improve the lives of children, teens, adults and their families in our area. The miracles and life changing experiences that are a daily occurrence at the ranch are no accident. It is the vision, hard work, and dedication of the staff and volunteers at the ranch along with God's plan that make the difference. Children speaking, walking and doing things for the first time that they were never "suppose" to do. Teens turning their lives around from the wrong pathes that they were on and learning that there is a different way to live. Adults who live everyday with limitations most of us cannot even begin to understand finding an escape and joy even if for a short time on the back of a horse. It all works, and it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to make that happen. This is what Haven Horse Ranch is all about!!! As a volunteer I can only wish that I had more time to spend helping with this mission, but it has been a blessing to help and I would encourage anyone with time, talents or the financial means to contribute as well.
I became involved with the ranch both from a fund raising and customer standpoint this year. I am extremely inpressed with the level of professionalism that they bring to their approach to everything from fundraisers to therapy and lessons for the general public. Everyone there is devoted to the kids and really give of themselves to make sure they get the best out of their experience at the ranch.
Haven Horse Ranch is an excellent environment for providing therapy for children with disabilities. In co operation
with certified therapists in physical therapy, speech and occupational therapy, plus using certified horse handlers and gentle trained therapy horses that seem to just sense the needs of their riders, makes for a safe environment for children to receive such excellent care in their therapy experiences. Haven Horse Ranch is unique in providing both hippo and equestrian therapy to all who take advantage of what the ranch offers.
As a volunteer, the rewards are priceless in seeing and experiencing first hand how the these therapy experiences benefit the children. It really is one of the best and most rewarding experiences I participate in all week. I always look forward with much anticipation each week to serving as a volunteer at Haven Horse Ranch.
Haven Horse Ranch is a wonderful place for kids and adults with disabilities. The look on their faces when they are on the horse is priceless.
I started volunteering at Haven Horse Ranch as a horse handler for the Equine Therapy program at the beginning of 2014. I love being around horses and have a background in early childhood education and thought what a great way to combine the two. I have been amazed at the changes that can be seen in a handicapped child after only a few visits to the ranch. Whether it is a physical handicap that is helped by the strengthening of the core muscles and the limbering of tightened muscles by playing games of stretching as we ride around the ring; the verbal responses from one who doesn't speak that are initiated from being at the top of the world, on their horse; or the autistic child who verbalizes and begins interacting with the world; they all may seem small goals, but to the child, the parent and therapists these are huge steps to be celebrated!
My wife and I went for a trail ride one day at the Haven Horse Ranch, and before leaving after talking to Ric and hearing about the Ranch and its mission, we decided that this was a place that we would like to become a volunteer. Seeing the strides made during and as a result of the equine therapy have been both amazing, truly remarkable and rewarding. We really enjoy working with both those who work for and or volunteer at the ranch and those who receive the equine therapy.
We have been volunteering almost a year as horse handlers in the Equine Therapy sessions. We have received excellent training and lead horses during the therapy sessions for individuals with autism, CF, brain or spinal cord injuries etc. For those with limited mobility, can you imagine the experience of moving along on a horse as they take the therapy? Seeing the smiles of the students and their expressions of love toward the horses is simply amazing. All the other activities at the ranch, such as trail rides and riding lessons, help support the therapy. Ric, the owner of the ranch has a true calling to make the equine therapy happen and that calling shows in everything that is done at the ranch. We have been very touched by working there.
My experience with Haven Horse Ranch has been much more amazing than I could have possibly hoped. I originally reached out to them to become a volunteer and gain necessary observation hours with their equine therapy program (I am applying for a master's program). They made the entire process extremely easy and accessible for my schedule. Once I began volunteering, I was disappointed with myself for not reaching out to them sooner. They do amazing work with their equine therapy, and the staff all welcomed me with open arms. The way their program works, many children don't even realize they are doing therapy, and the joy is definitely contagious! They also offer riding lessons, summer camp, a special needs camp and provide a show on Friday nights for their riders to show off their skills!