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Review for Hope Springs Equestrian Therapy Inc, Chester Springs, PA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

My name is Donna Condon and my son Christopher is 12 1/2 and we have had the pleasure of riding at Hope Springs for almost 4 years now and we couldn't be happier! When Jeannie Knowlton (Executive Director) asked if I would be able to speak at Hope Springs fundraiser, I was so humbled as it is a privilege to tell you how Hope Springs Therapeutic Riding program has helped my son.

Christopher has Autism and is nonverbal. Christopher actually started riding for therapy when he was 3 years old when we were living in New Jersey. However, after a year or two, we put the program on hold. When I moved back to Pennsylvania, I started to investigate therapeutic riding programs and came across Hope Springs. What was so special and unique about the program is they only offer their services to those individuals (children & adults) with disabilities. That was very important to me because I knew the instructors who would teach my son were specialized with all disabilities and would have the patience required, and they do! Everyone is so kind, loving and caring and as a mother, I can’t tell you how important that is to me!

I contacted Jeannie and she had us come out to the barn to meet her and the horses. She wanted to see how Christopher interacted with the horses and of course, he did great and then we began our sessions. I can't begin to tell you how much riding here at Hope Springs has helped Christopher. He has a low tone in his body and when we first started we had to have at least two volunteers along with the instructor because someone had to be along Christopher's side to help make sure that he wouldn't lean as his core muscles were weak and he could not sit up straight on the horse. Additionally, it's important to note that it’s not just pulling a horse around a ring or through the woods, he is being taught whether it’s his body parts (he did learn all of his body parts while riding), signing to “walk on”, holding the reins and many other things. Today, I am so proud to state that Christopher no longer requires a volunteer by his side, he can sit up straight and tall while riding Monte (his favorite horse) and his core muscles have increased immensely. His focus and attention while riding is outstanding, he is in tune with his surroundings and listens to the instructor. He is now pulling the reins back and advising Monte to stop, turning left and right and his favorite part is trotting….he loves the input he receives from bouncing up and down while trotting…it puts the biggest simile on his face.

I have said to Jeannie a few times that if I ever win the lottery, I want to give a large donation to Hope Springs so they can continue to help all individuals with all disabilities, the opportunity to ride, make new friends and most of all, have fun and be included!

I look forward to my son riding at Hope Springs for a very long time!

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