My grandson is on level one of the autism spectrum. His social skills are impaired and he has difficulty connecting with peers. He is unhappy about his lack of friends. He has never enjoyed sports and found BSA a bit overwhelming. As soon as he began at ROSE OF SHARON, we saw an immediate improvement in how he feels about himself and he is genuinely happy. He really looks forward to coming to Rose of Sharon every week. Joan Twining has unique gifts in terms of understanding each child's strengths and reinforcing them. I recommend her unconditionally!
From the moment you set foot on the farm, you feel the warmth and compassion of everyone you meet. The staff and volunteers feel passionately about the horses and the students, they are dedicated to the mission of the organization and work tirelessly to better themselves and the services they provide.
I could never fully express the worth of ROSES through words. ROSES has a huge place in my heart for SOO many reasons. I was introduced to ROSES over 13 years ago. Over those years here are just a few key reasons I continue to fall in love with ROSES...
1- After my Mom was in a tragic accident, volunteering at ROSES was therapeutic for me. Joan as a person is therapeutic, her presence alone is calming. Her heart & dedication to her horses & her clients is inspiring and never ceases to impress me!
2- While I was in school to be an Occupational Therapist I saw first hand the amazing physical progress a women healing from a brain injury displayed at ROSES, but best of all I saw her eyes light up & the deep passion she had horseback riding (& the gift it was for her to be back on a horse).
3- While in school Joan allowed us the privilege to work with her on a school project, where we were suppose to fill a need for her. But again- Joan's wisdom & therapeutic use of self probably taught us & impacted us in away that never leaves. (And yet she is so humble- always so humble)
4- When I began working at a school for children with Autism & behaviors Joan helped in writing a grant for some of our kids to be able to come weekly to visit & be treated through ROSES. ROSES reached kids & brought smiles & skills that were not seen in the school environment. Joan would also take any difficult case (e.g.- a student that didn't want to go into the barn & scared if the horse) & create a plan and program specifically for that student (outside if the group plan). By the end of the visits the students did a 180 & showed growth that I never expected to see!!
Joan, the horses, the staff & the volunteers that make up ROSES are spectacular and an answer to so many prayers on so many levels!!!
Rose of Sharon Equestrian School is truly unique and amazing. The school is set up to accommodate children with severe behavioral problems, which is a very difficult population with which to work. Traditional equestrian activities, such as grooming or feeding the horses, are adapted to help students fully participate. The skills that the children are gaining in this program can be generalized to school and home.
It is clear that Joan and her volunteers whole-heartedly love what they are doing. They are making a difference in children's lives that cannot adequately be expressed in words. I am beyond grateful that my students have had the opportunity to participate in this program.
I am an equine veterinarian that provides provide care to the horses and ponies of the Rose of Sharon Equestrian School. The barn and riding arena provide a lovely environment for horses, students and staff to do their job in a safe, comfortable and cheerful environment. The stable is impressively maintained with attention to cleanliness, neatness ,compassionate care to the animals and providing an efficient productive learning environment for students.
I have been in the field of Special Education for 36 years-I have met indivduals whom I have taught or served in some capacity and I have met many professionals in this fiels along the way. I had read about Joan Trinings "Roses " program a few years ago and was curious but this year I had the opportunity to directly work with her because of my students.My students, in a high school life skills type program, raise $ every year for a charity of their choice, After much research and conversation, they chose "Roses" as their focus this year. I met with Joan and she gave me ideas for lessons I could do with my students to learn about her program and the horses and the care they needetc. We had about 8 weeks between the time she and I met, and when the students took a trip to meet Joan and the horses and ponies. During that time, they learned everything they could about the animals as well as how horses and ponies could be therapeutic for them and others with Special Needs. They raised over $500.oo to donate to the farm for a special blanket. Finally the day came to meet Joan , her volunteers, and her employee who is a graduate of the class I teach!!!! That in and of itself was so inspiring to the students.. bt there was more. Joans wonderful gentle way with humans and animals touched all of us to the core. Her appreciation of the students efforts: their reports which they had put together into a book and read to her, and the money they presented, was heartfelt. She was astounded by them and what they gave of themselves for her program. There was not a dry eye in the barn. It truly was an amzing experience for each and every one of us.
Review from Guidestar
Hello. I am the principal of a special education program for students ages 3-8. This past year 8 of my students had the privilige of visiting the Rose Equestrian School on a weekly basis. The program is amazing! Ms. Joan and her staff are extremely knowlegable about horses, as well as, special needs students. This made it a fit perfect. The students learned about basic horse care and gained the confidence they needed to approach, and even feed, a horse. They looked forward to their weekly visits. The students have truely reaped the benefits of this program. I highly recommend it! Diann Butler, M.S. Forbush Therapeutic Preschool at Towson
This is a powerful program helping adults and children with disabilities by using the therapeutic relationship developed with horses and ponies.
I am a Special Educator for middle school students with moderate to severe autism. Each of my students face many challenges on a daily basis; including toe walking, noise sensitivity, anxiety in unfamiliar places and with unfamiliar people, sensory needs and much more. Aside from being a teacher I also do in home services for children with autism. One of my kiddos has been riding with Joan for a number of years. I had always heard how wonderful the place was and wanted to check it out for myself. Back in March, I took my students to ROSES for a field trip. I had one student who was extremely afraid of horses and I was very worried about him on the trip. Weeks before the trip I met Joan at the barn and she wonderful in taking me around to show me the ropes and how the barn provides such a vast amount of accommodations. I took a ton of pictures including a picture of her and Ms. Molly so I could make a social story to allow my students the chance to know what to expect before we got there. With Joan’s expertise and my enthusiasm to bring my students to ROSES, we were able to put together a great trip. Each one of my students had the chance to meet the horses, feed them, brush them and walk them. My kiddos were using their words, being gentle and keeping a calm body. My one student who is extremely scared of horses did a wonderful job. I was amazed by his willingness by the end of the trip to want to “be” with the horse. Joan and her volunteers were wonderful! It has been a few months since we have been to ROSES and my one student, who was once scared of horses, still talks about them and still wants to look at all the pictures that were taken during the trip. For me, my favorite part of the trip was watching my kiddos be so gentle and calm. I wish I could keep a horse in my classroom all day long ïŠ. Once we had returned from the trip the students continue to stay in such a relaxed state. It was truly amazing. ROSES is such a wonderful facility. They truly know how to provide and are equipped to provide the appropriate modifications and accommodations necessary for kids to be successful. Thank you ROSES for being such a wonderful facility and providing such a wonderful opportunity for those in need of alternative therapy!
As a special educator and former therapeutic riding instructor, I know that many people in the field don't understand the particular challenges of working successfully with children and adults on the autism spectrum. I was immediately impressed not only with the facility and the horses, but with Joan. Many people come to this work with heart. Joan comes with a heart full of compassion , but also with a sharp intellect and creative mind. She understands how to maximize student learning, while fostering a love of horses and riding. She is a gift to the field, and precisely the kind of service provider that can change lives. In addition, she is committed to running the nonprofit well, which can be a challenge in itself. She is thoughtful about her fiscal and management decisions, which means that donor dollars are well-spent and channeled to program services not administration. Andrew Carnegie said that it's easy to give money away, but hard to give it away well. Giving to Roses is giving well.