Davorka Suvak, better known as “Dada,” has more than 30 years of experience in coaching and educating in Equine Assisted Activities, with 15 years of experience as a Therapeutic Riding Instructor. Before she immigrated to the United States in 2005, she coached the Croatian National Para Equestrian Team, competing successfully at the international and world level.
After founding one of the first therapeutic riding non-profit organizations in the Balkans, she transferred the mission and vision from Croatia to the United States. Spirit Equestrian was founded by a group of friends who saw the benefit that horse interaction brings to the body, mind, and spirit.
Now, Spirit serves over 300 participants, and the vision of helping people to heal, grow, and learn using interactions with horses has continued. Spirit offers three main programs – Therapeutic Riding, Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, and Equine Assisted Learning. A team of over 200 volunteers work alongside the experienced staff to make the Spirit vision a reality.
Tommy is one of the many participants that has personally benefited from the vision at Spirit Equestrian. Tommy grew up in a world of pain. He almost died before he was born, then miraculously survived – to encounter a brain tumor just a short time later. His early years were filled with doctors’ visits, MRIs, blood tests, and hospital machines. It was all he knew.
One day, Tommy’s mom saw the Spirit Open Equestrian therapeutic riding program. She had ridden horses when she was younger, and hoped that the program would help Tommy “be less frightened of our world.”
During the first lessons, although Tommy wasn’t afraid of the ponies, he struggled to respond to instructions on how to sit and how to hold the reins, and you could tell that he didn’t have much confidence in himself. Time went by, and Tommy started talking about the horses all the time. He couldn’t wait to go to lessons, and slowly, the way Tommy saw the world started to change.
After a year and a half of lessons, Tommy trotted on his own. He now can’t stop talking about horses and all the fun he has at Spirit. “The wonderful thing about the Spirit program is that Ms. Dada and the instructors have this magic way of understanding each student’s needs, and pushing them just enough,” Tommy’s mom shares.
Tommy is just one of the many success stories at Spirit. Check out their website below to learn more.
How to Contact This Farm:
2173 White Cornus Lane
Reston, VA 20191