By Emily Oliver, Co-Founder and Director, Campfire Creek Therapeutic Riding Center
About Campfire Creek Therapeutic Riding Center: Campfire Creek Therapeutic Riding Center improves the quality of life for children and adults with various physical, mental, emotional, behavioral and spiritual challenges by partnering with the equine family and the agricultural environment.
How have you used the Moody Foundation grant?
The Moody Foundation grant has been used to hire two new certified therapeutic riding instructors (with efforts to hire one other part time certified therapeutic riding instructor and part time barn help). This has enabled us to remove eight potential riders from the “active waiting list.”Offering these special children and adults a place on our roster was exciting for them, an answered prayer for the parents and a great achievement for our center. These achievements would not be possible without the generosity of the Moody Foundation.
What is therapeutic horseback riding and how does it work?
Therapeutic riding unites the horse and rider through physical activity on horseback as well as on the ground. This form of equine activity teaches how to ride a horse correctly and can become a sport for some. The horse’s walk is most similar to the body movement of a human’s walk. Riding the horse offers the rider a range of motion that cannot be achieved while in a wheelchair or on a walker. The rhythm of the horse while in motion causes neurons in the brain to be fired working both sides of the brain without the rider even realizing they are receiving therapy.
Various games and activities are played while riding which offers the participant many forms of therapy while having fun. The horse offers an indescribable animal/human bond that provides comfort and relieves stress as they ride and groom. There are many times when the rider has a feeling that “this is my horse!”
Social interaction is another important benefit of the therapeutic riding classes. A relationship between the rider and their volunteers is formed while grooming their horse and while riding. Additionally, there are opportunities to follow directions, take on new responsibilities, experience a new sport and celebrate a job well done. Even for the most challenged rider, they are provided the chance to be as independent as possible and receive a sense of pride that cannot be achieved when someone else does the work for them.
How many people does your organization help every year? How many people volunteer at your organization every year?
Campfire Creek offers hope and healing regularly to approximately 45 students per week. It is possible for this number to increase if a potential rider is available to accept a specific day and time on our weekly riding roster and the needed staff and volunteers can be confirmed. We have at least 45 volunteers who come out weekly to our riding center during our two seasons (spring/fall). Additionally, we have numerous volunteers who participate at our three fundraising events each year. These events include the Sporting Clay event, Annual Auction and Cowboy Ball.