My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Sarasota Manatee Association For Riding Therapy Inc, Bradenton, FL, USA
My son has been riding with SMART for 7 years! He is 12 years old and looks forward to riding "his horse" and seeing the volunteers and Sam, Samantha Toomey, an instructor and friend. Nate has Down syndrome, Autism and Severe Apraxia, yet Sam understands Nate's personality and how to bring out the best in him and she is so proud of how far Nate has come and shares that with me--which makes me very proud of the entire organization. SMART is a place that REALLY CARES about the riders! Nate has a lot of struggles in life, yet I see him learning and growing in his horsemanship and social skills. This year he began using the reins to guide the horse himself! Which is a huge accomplishment. Nate can be a handful, yet Gail and Sam never gave up on him and love him despite his occasional shenanigans. And that acceptance for who he is and acknowledgement of his great potential, has enabled him to blossom at SMART. The SMART program is perfect for a child who is non-verbal and has limited social skills, because your horse is there under you supporting you the entire time you are trying to get out those simple words "Walk On". And what a motivator to have that horse move forward and take you for a ride after 2 words are spoken. Being on the horse working on social skills, OT, and the physical therapy and receiving sensory input are invaluable. My son is very challenged by the activities done on the horse, yet the joy of riding and the really nice volunteers make the experience FUN not "therapy". Thank you SMART for being a huge part of our son's life and a happy place for him to continue to grow.