Helping Horse Therapeutic Riding Program is located off Shooting Club Road in North Raleigh. The small horse barn off the narrow dirt road may not seem like much when you first drive up to it, but it is home to laughter, learning and fun.
Helping Horse was founded in 1986 to provide individuals with various physical and mental disabilities a chance to ride horses. The program is based off the idea of therapeutic riding and the benefits that come with it. Riding is unlike other therapies, simply because it stimulates many different parts of the body, including brain, balance and control.
The program is aimed to give its students a unique experience that is beneficial as well. Students of the program bond closely with their volunteers and the horses they ride. The horse riding experience builds self-confidence. Also, the ability to control a large animal is empowering for many students.
Helping Horse is a 100% volunteer organization. Even the horses used for the program are donated by private owners. Volunteers for the program are used to help meet the needs of each student and ensure that students have a fun and educational time while riding. Volunteers are imperative to the program because they are not only needed to help students but are needed to maintain the arena, horse barn and pastures.
“We have had many students who were in wheelchairs or needed assistance to walk and after riding for a number of months were able to walk on their own or with less assistance,” said Toni Hofsheier, director and leader of the program. “Also students have spoken their first words on the back of a horse, and we see countless smiles and a lot of laughter every week in our classes,”
Helping Horse is a non-profit organization and runs solely off donations. The program accepts equipment and money donations always. If interested in volunteering or donating, go to http://www.helpinghorse.org/our-program/ and follow the steps on the website.