How Does GAIT TRC Affect the Members of our Community?

SFC Rebecca, retired Army Veteran, writes about Horses 4 Heroes:

“Prior to to entering the GAIT program, I never left the house and was borderline agoraphobic. It took tremendous courage and will power for me to leave the house and go to my first equine therapy appointment with the GAIT program. The staff were incredibly warm and welcoming. I immediately felt at home. I could be comfortable there and not worry about anyone judging me… I have noticed many changes in myself. Social situations are becoming less scary, my confidence is starting to build, and bonding with a horse is the most amazing feeling. Something I haven’t felt since I was a child… I believe in this program and I am blessed to be part of something meaningful again.”

Sam and Louis’ mother writes about Therapeutic Riding and Mommy & Me:

“I am a mother of a child on the Autism Spectrum who has been riding at GAIT since he first received his diagnosis. In addition to having the distinction of his favorite place in the world (and we’ve been to Disney World), the benefits have been incredible. The program (TR) meets so many of his needs: sensory processing, muscle strengthening, his speech delays, social skills, friendships he has made, and a surprise benefit of teaching him road safety. My middle son, even more than my oldest, loves being at GAIT (and that’s saying a lot)… He has started riding in the ‘Mommy & Me’ program and LOVES it! He not only gets to do something his brother does, but the connections he is making with the horses and staff have been incredible for relieving his anxiety and given him a safe place. GAIT has given me an extended family, a place where folks love and understand each of my children for exactly who they are, a place where I can talk with people who understand our life, a place of love and support.”

Crosby’s mother writes about Therapeutic Riding:

“I am writing this to sing the praises of the amazing program GAIT. There truly are not words to explain the magic that happens there. My son, Crosby, started therapeutic riding at GAIT this summer and it has improved his life immensely. Crosby has global apraxia, Autism, and ADHD… In addition Crosby has delayed social skills and *an extreme phobia of most animals.* We had considered GAIT for Crosby for several years but always hesitated because of his fear of animals…. Well, I am so glad that we tried. The atmosphere and staff at GAIT is so relaxing and calming. They got Crosby up on a horse the very first session and it has been the highlight of his week ever since. Therapeutic Riding has improved his confidence, his gross motor skills and core strength, his communication, and his ability to focus and follow verbal directions. And most of all is makes him so happy, he leaves GAIT each week so relaxed and less rigid than he typically is… I am so grateful to have found this program and that my family is a part of it.”

Jennifer writes about volunteering:

“I have been a volunteer for GAIT approximately one year now and have found the humanity and comradery amongst staff, volunteers, and clients to be astounding. Everybody involved makes this Therapeutic Riding Center what it is- beautiful. There is something for everybody to be able to achieve here at GAIT. As I am a volunteer with my own injuries to overcome, I am certain in knowing everybody is welcomed at GAIT.”

Capt. Cindy, retired Air Force Veteran, writes about Horses 4 Heroes:

“The time I spend each week with ‘my horse,’ Joey at GAIT, brings me a quieting of my anxiety. But it has also given me a framework to use when not there to help deal with those moments when my anxiety starts to ramp up. Horses 4 Heroes at GAIT is a superb program run by professionals who are dedicated to not only their horses, but each and every individual who steps foot in the barn.”

Erika writes about Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy:

“I have had the opportunity to be an adult client at GAIT for nearly a year. In that time I have received unconditional love, guidance, and encouragement to face the deepest fears from my past which were preventing me from expressing my gifts and abilities in daily life. Working with a mental health professional and a horse has helped me to turn fear into trust, hesitancy into courage, isolation into partnership, and self-judgement into self-respect. In an atmosphere of hard work, compassion, and non-judgement, I have learned that there is no obstacle that cannot be overcome.”

Sophia and Aleksandra’s mother writes about Therapeutic Riding:

“….She had very weak trunk control; a wind could knock her over. Immediately we started Therapeutic Riding. What a tremendous difference in her trunk control, strength, balance, and endurance! And the smiles when they ride! The fine people at GAIT have helped them to learn how to control the horses themselves. Both with their voices and their body movement on the horses. Our youngest daughter, in addition, has very little use of her hands. She has no real grasp of either hand and the Instructors at GAIT have worked hard each week coming up with innovative ways, consulting with OT’s and PT’s as to what might work best to help our daughter hold on to and control the reins. I am forever grateful and thankful for all that Therapeutic Riding has done and will continue to do in the lives of our children.”

Pike County Public Library writes about GAIT’s community outreach:

“Every year, staff members from GAIT and the Pike County Public Library work together to bring a special story time event to our community members. We bring children to GAIT’s facility to listen to stories about horses and then interact with those same animals that they just read about. It is a beautiful program that truly brings the stories to life for the children. This encourages healthy relationships with animals and literacy at the same time. While neither GAIT nor the library always have the resources to help each and every person with their specific needs, it does become possible to do much more for our community with partnerships such as ours. A program such as this is an investment in our community that helps participants become more independent and successful.”

Dan, a First Responder, writes about Horses 4 Heroes:

“GAIT has become a large part of my recovery. I’ve found the program beneficial both physically and mentally. A truly amazing gift from amazing people. Really can’t say enough about GAIT and all they do!”

Kayleigh’s mother writes about volunteering:

“My husband and I wanted to thank you for having Kayleigh be part of the GAIT family. … Since Kayleigh has joined GAIT as a volunteer she has made friends and has met some amazing people- she gets so excited to go to GAIT every Saturday! We are so excited for her! This has been a wonderful experience for Kayleigh- she has learned so much about working on the farm and the different kinds of horses. She’s learned that everyone is different on the outside but on the inside we’re all a lot alike; we all have a heart and we all have feelings. Being a volunteer at GAIT has socially changed her and has made a huge difference in her self esteem. So thank you for changing my daughter’s life and giving her this experience! You’re all amazing people! I think you have a volunteer for life!”

Malachi’s mother writes about Hippotherapy:

“I would like to extend gratitude on behalf of my son, Malachi, and myself. We are very appreciative for your kindness and help during our participation in GAIT therapeutic services. When Malachi first started at GAIT I did not think we would make it past our first session… He is a non- verbal, Autistic boy and had no way of communicating his like or dislike of this new experience. It was a hard decision but I decided we would stick with it even though I was in despair. To make a long story short, we have had a wonderful journey. We are far from that first time on the horse, and Malachi is doing great! He makes great improvements with each visit and consistently receives praise from the directors and side walkers… Your teaching has supported Malachi’s growth and development and we are forever grateful!”

Lindsey and Daniel’s parents write about Therapeutic Riding:

“Our two children, Lindsey and Daniel, have been fortunate to have enjoyed participating as riders over the past few years in the Therapeutic Riding sessions at GAIT TRC. Lindsey and Daniel are both on the Autism Spectrum. The riding lessons bring them great joy and a sense of personal achievement. …We know firsthand how great and important the therapeutic riding lessons at GAIT have been, giving our children and others a higher level of confidence and boost in self- esteem. Every year we are impressed of how GAIT continues to provide so many thankful riders and their families a fun, safe, friendly, and recreational experience in such an accepting environment. The staff and volunteers are so understanding and helpful with all the riders. … GAIT has been very gracious and generous in providing scholarships to enable Daniel to continue his participation in the therapeutic riding lessons. Without GAIT’s kind gesture of the scholarships, there was no way Daniel would have been able to continue participating in the therapeutic riding lessons at GAIT.”

Biondo Foundation “Summer Camp” relays comments:

“He has demonstrated better listening/ follows directives. He is progressing with speech and signing. He also appears very relaxed on the horse (sensory). Staff were very accommodating. The staff were knowledgeable and connected with my son.” “Every session brought its own unique style. My boys are learning to be more patient as well as cooperative. We have been going to GAIT since the boys were 8 and communication and patience was always there… We love the program; riders learn more and more each session.” “At GAIT my daughter learned to look when handing communication card… and body awareness with colored rings and simple directions. The staff challenged my daughter and the progress she has made.” “My son truly enjoys going to GAIT and it is so beneficial for him. He is able to work on balance and help keep his hips aligned properly.”

Justice Works Youth Care writes about Community Service:

“Thank you.. for allowing us the opportunity to come to your farm. You provide an opportunity where others have rejected our clients due to their bad choices. It truly helps these juveniles… The kids have told us on many occasions that they learned so much when performing community service, lessons that they will take throughout their life. Thank you for taking the time to teach kids about equestrianism; most would never have such an experience without GAIT. Many of the juveniles we work with love to come to GAIT to perform community service hours, despite the fact that the work is hard. Thank you for your commitment in helping all the youth in Pike County, regardless of their crimes they have committed, the poor decisions they have made in the past, or any other factors.”