When riders come to Heartland Horses Equine Activities and Learning, they are assessed for the therapeutic horsemanship program to see if they would be a good fit. In this program, volunteers and staff teach riding skills along with life skills. Riders must learn to use multiple skills at once as they communicate, lead and direct the horses. Each week, the results are measured and riders and staff can see their progress.
Kyle, who suffers from ADHD, came to HHEAL a few years ago and started in the program. He was paired with a patient, loving horse named Fancy. Week after week, Kyle worked on communicating with his horse, riding, and grooming. This was a lot of work for Kyle because it was hard for him to stay on task. However, Kyle progressed every week, learning how to trot on the horse, follow the riding patterns, and be gentle with the reins.
Earlier this year, Kyle took first place in in his division at the Special Stars Horse Show. The smile on his face said it all, as Kyle was able to achieve such a special accomplishment in front of his family and friends.
The weekly sessions at HHEAL have helped Kyle increase his confidence and self-esteem. His mother, Janet, is so grateful for the program and all that it has done. She shares, “as Kyle’s mom I want what makes Kyle happy. I want to see him smile more often, open up in his communication, become more confident in his abilities, and start believing in himself more. I feel these are things he can accomplish through HHEAL.”
One of the main goals at HHEAL is that the riders not only become competent equestrians, but also confident people through their programs. The programs work on improving physical skills as well as emotional skills. The benefits are both immediate and long-lasting, as riders develop important life skills and attitudes.
Kyle’s mom goes on to share the change that she has seen in her son, saying “the biggest change in Kyle is his confidence, he is no longer afraid to put himself out there and try new things.” Claire Langway from HHEAL said “in Kyle’s situation, the bonding relationship he has developed with Fancy and the volunteers and staff has significantly impacted his life skills by allowing him to see himself as successful and confident. Our equines provide an incentive beyond human capability – we like to refer to this as “the magic.”
Learn more about the magic that happens at HHEAL by visiting their website below.
How to Contact This Farm:
4305 Independence Street
Avon Park, Florida 33825