Equine Therapy

2022 | New Beginnings for SaddleUp

The Best New Years Resolution You Can Make

It’s 2022… can you believe it?! 

Many look at the New Year as a mark to a fresh start. A chance to do something or be somebody they haven’t been in the past.

 So I ask, did you make a New Years resolution?

Myself, like I am sure many of you, make the same ones every year; lose weight, exercise, be a better person, spend more time with my family….etc.

But how often do we really stick with it?? What if I told you there was a resolution that you may really like, no love! That you will probably keep throughout the year and honestly may even become something you couldn’t live without!

Oh, I have your attention now, don’t I? 

I’m not done yet, to make it even better, you’ll get to work with a HORSE!!!
And not only will you be able to spend time with these wonderfully created creatures but you’ll also get to assist those who are less fortunate; specifically the mentally and physically challenged.

Many of you reading along found this blog because you were looking into Equine Therapy or Therapeutic Riding. Others may have just stumbled across it and found the title intriguing – or a friend shared it with you because they know your heart needed this. Either way, let me tell you a moment my life was forever changed.

For the past 18 years, I’ve been privileged to own my own horse business. For 13 of those years, I’ve been able to work with mentally and physically challenged children, adults, and veterans.

Though many years may of come and gone, the moment that shaped my future more than any resolution will never fade away.

The very first time I witnessed a true connection between a precious child, who was limited to their reach by a wheelchair, stretching out their arm to come up just shy of her desire. Then like a magnetic connection between this child and horse, drawing them closer and closer – Flip, our very first horse and the best if I’m being bias, walks right up to this young child and lays his head so gracefully down on her tray so she could embrace the fuzzy fur on his head she so desired.

It was this moment, that I still see so clearly all these years later that has shaped everything as I knew my soul desired to be apart of these moments.

Horses have always played a significant role for humans and the connection between the two cannot go unnoticed. In the 1970’s the trend began to spread and a organization called NARHA (North American Riding for the Handicap Association) began to offer certification and accreditation to horse professionals wanting to work with the disabled. The organization now in the year 2022 is called PATH International (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horseman). With over 900 member centers internationally and we’re lucky to be apart of this community!

Therapeutic riding or Equines assisted therapy requires persons to lead a horse, and with some clients, requires two side walkers assisting with leg holds for safety of the rider. Based on our center alone, we know it takes 15-20 volunteers each Saturday to make these special connections possible.

So you may be asking yourself “what does this have to do with my New Years resolution?” and I’m glad you ask!

You see, Therapeutic Riding cannot be held without the help of many volunteers, they are the backbone of any PATH Int center, just ask any Instructor.

With that being said, I would love to challenge those who’ve made it this far along reading to step up and step out by volunteering a few hours of their time to witness this miracle that we see each week.

You’ll get the opportunity to be outside while actively walking for 30–40 minutes, helping others (which always makes us feel fueled) all while being around and working with horses. After a few hours, you will leave that stable wondering why you haven’t volunteered sooner!

This year, make a goal that is bigger than yourself. Set your eyes on those small moments that can have a forever impact on your life.

Volunteer Today

If you’re ready to join us and you live in Pinellas County, Florida, we would love to have you at Saddle Up Riding Club! However, if you don’t and are still interested in being a part of these moments, please visit PATHInt.org – there you will find a section where you can locate a center near you!

I promise you it will be the best decision you can make for yourself and others this New Year.

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