With over 475,000 special-needs individuals in Maricopa County, horses are used to create a unique relationship with those with physical, cognitive and emotional barriers. The horse can play a significant role in helping relax muscles, stretch limbs, increase coordination and encourage interaction with another species and with people. The movement of the horse’s walk mimics the human gait which can assist in recovery or improved movement for the person. Participants interact with the horses at many different levels, from tacking and riding to grooming and leading.
Horses Help (HH), a PATH International Premier Accredited 501c-3 non-profit Equine Assisted Activity and Learning Center, uses horses to service up to 150 special needs and at-risk community participants each week. This could not be possible without tremendous horses; along with a dedicated staff and a community of volunteers and donors that have wholly embraced HH’s mission, vision and values. “We invite you to immerse yourself in the ‘Culture of Service’. Inspire people to stretch their boundaries and be remembered by how you make them feel. Participate in life!” says Gregg Goodman, Executive Director.
A staff of instructors certified through PATH Intl. and contracted therapists through the American Hippotherapy Association work to develop participants’ physical, cognitive and emotional abilities. Each week Horses Help serves participants ranging from four years of age to seniors. Volunteers are vitally important to the daily functioning of the facility, including: feeding and care of horses, turning out of horses, and preparing horses for and assisting with lessons. Horses used in this program are typically retired show, trail or ranch horses that are quiet and good-natured to aid in supporting the development of their special-needs partners. Increasing physical abilities is one benefit but more than this is the ability to help emotionally troubled youth find a willing listener. A horse can create space between a frustrated, angry person and nuzzle that same person when he/she relaxes and trusts the horse. The old adage is so true: The outside of the horse is good for the inside of man.
Do you want to make an impact? Go to www.horseshelp.org or call (602) 569-6056
Horses Help: 2601 Rose Garden Lane, Phoenix, AZ 85050