Group heals with horse sense
At the core of the WindWalkers organization is a family-centered approach that acknowledges that a challenge of any kind does not affect only the individual but every member of a family. Regardless of the challenge, time spent with and on a horse helps participants gain self-confidence, improve their physical health, increase neurological stimulation, learn responsibility and have a great time doing it. Equine therapy has been proven to generate physical, behavioral and emotional growth.Client sessions are generally one hour long and include horse care, riding skills, experiential education, kinesthetic learning, physical therapy, speech therapy, life coaching, responsibility training and more. Clients arrive, check in with their instructor about the day, groom and tack their horse, mount and ride. During the entire session, work is done on the identified challenge: social skills for clients struggling in school; physical exercises to increase balance, relax muscles, increase core muscle strength, etc., for clients with physical issues; or life skills for clients struggling with emotional or physical trauma or grief. The WindWalkers staff works out of the Barn at Cedar Ridge Ranch, which is owned by Pam and Randy Johnson.WindWalkers has just passed its one-year anniversary, received its 501(c)(3) federal tax-exempt status in May 2006, and received a grant of $15,000 from the Aspen-based Kids Need Us Foundation in August. The organization’s first big fundraising event is planned for 6 p.m. Oct. 14, with beer, wine, appetizers, dinner, silent auction and live entertainment at the Barn on Cedar Ridge Ranch. Reservations are not needed; interested parties may purchase tickets at the door. Tickets can be reserved in advance, just call 963-2909 and ask for Molly. Proceeds will go to a variety of WindWalkers programs, including the scholarship program, program-related costs, horse care and maintenance.Clients look forward to their equine therapy. “I want to invent a perfume that smells just like the barn and spray it in my bedroom,” said enthusiastic 11-year-old WindWalkers client Tori Schiller.Kay Vasilakis’ column “Nonprofit Spotlight” appears every other Wednesday in the Post Independent. She is the media coordinator for the Garfield County Human Services Commission. To contact her, call 384-9118 or e-mail email@example.com.
Began in Garfield County: August of 2005Purpose: To help families facing challenges physical, behavioral, emotional or social, through therapeutic riding activities. Clients: 48 clients all over the Roaring Fork ValleyAddress: Cedar Ridge Ranch, 3059 CR 103 (Crystal Springs Road), Unit #3, Carbondale Contact number: 970-963-2909Hours: Monday – Saturday. Hours are flexible, based on client need.
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