Volunteers Stories

Volunteer’s Stories

I hope you are having a great day. My name is Samantha and I work with Joshua B. on Wednesday 4:30 session.

Over the past several weeks of riding classes, I have noticed a difference in Josh.  When he first started riding he used to bounce often while riding the horse and was all around rough.  Over the past few weeks he has become more gentle and less aggressive.  He would also ask me to hold my hand on his back and does not ask anymore.  He has also improved with his walking and does not walk on his toes as much especially with shoes on.

During the first few riding sessions, he had a hard time with directions (left and right) and now he demonstrates an understanding of direction both verbally and motions.     I have noticed that we have a stronger connection by sharing something that is a very unique development activity apart from every day learning which could help out even sibling/parents.  It is very important for individuals to feel loved and supported while reaching goals and the team at Horses for Hope does a great job at doing so. From the horse leads, groomers, and trainers, they all play an important part in making this atmosphere very welcoming to anyone.

Thank you so much for all that you do!  Samantha H

In 2010, seven years after a bad wreck with a drunk driver, Horses for Hope gave me the opportunity to take therapeutic riding (TR) lessons. At that time I could barely walk with 2 crutches. After a year of lessons (and no other PT) I could walk fairly well with only 1 crutch! This was nothing short of a miracle!

Now I am able to walk well enough with one crutch that I lead horses for TR lessons. I love working with other riders with disabilities and seeing the amazing difference that TR makes for them. I wish that we had the volunteer base to be able to offer more TR classes because I know firsthand how it changes lives! If you can walk for about a half hour at a time and like helping people we can train you to volunteer for TR.

I have also served as Vice-president on the Board of Directors. This has allowed me to see the work that many other volunteers put into HfH. Things like fundraising, website development and management, social media presence, organizing events, contacting media, publicizing our services, keeping up with databases and so much more.  Carmalee Scarppitti

I have been happily volunteering for over 4 years. It started with just a small fundraiser. As my son grew through therapeutic riding, I knew had to give back for everything that has been given to my son. I have since done everything from side walker, horse leader, groomer, feeder, committee chair and board member. What started as finding therapy for my autistic son, has morphed into all of us becoming a part of this large family – our barn family. We cherish this and thank God for showing us the path to this organization. ~Chris Campbell

 I got involved with Horses for Hope in 2011.  I started coming around the barn because I had just started dating Gwen, the founder of HfH.  Honestly I am a skeptical person by nature and really didn’t understand how horses could help people. One afternoon a little boy around 4 years of age with Down Syndrome came up to me and held up his arms for me to hold him so I picked him up.  This little guy couldn’t even speak, he would just point and grunt at what he was interested in.  So for about ten minutes he would point at things and I would carry him to see what he was interested in.  Then he pointed to a new horse that we had just gotten on the property a couple of days before.  We walked over to the small pasture area this horse was in for him to look at her.  This horse, her name is Moon, was about fifty feet away when we approached her fence.  When we got to her fence she stopped what she was doing, turned to face us and stared directly at this little boy.  I could tell she was looking directly at him and not at me.  Then she started tipping her from side to side as she studied him, he of course began to get very excited.  Then the horse walked towards us and stopped directly in front of us.  Now the little guy in my arms got really excited because this huge animal had come to see him.  Then the most amazing thing happened, this horse reached out to this boy and nuzzled his cheek ever so gently with her lips.  This little boy just lit up, I mean he really came alive with such excitement.  He started rubbing the horse all over her head and face, his little hands went up her nose, over her eyes and he even pulled on her ears and this horse stood perfectly still with her head cocked in a position that allowed him to easily reach her.  You need to understand how unusual this type of behavior is for a horse.  They are very protective of their head and face because they need all of those body parts to survive.  It’s very unusual for them to allow someone to handle them like this especially someone that was as excited and moving as erratic as this little boy was.  After he was through the horse just stood and stared at him for a few seconds then she slowly turned and walked away.  My experience that afternoon with that little boy sold me on the benefits of horse therapy.  I knew that little boy may never score a touchdown, hit a home run, kick a field goal or make a three point shot but I saw him do all of those things that afternoon.  He had his moment in the spotlight that day and it was a horse that gave it to him.  More importantly I truly believe that God used that little boy and that horse to show me where I was to spend the rest of my life.  That night at supper I told Gwen about what had happened and she started crying.  She had never seen anything like it in her forty plus years of horse experience.  We had just started dating but that night I told her that regardless of where our relationship went I would help her with Horses for Hope for the rest of my life.  Five years later we are married and I’m still seeing miracles happen.  Tony Roberts

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