Lifestyle: Carousel Ranch
We are thrilled to have this opportunity to introduce you to Carousel Ranch, in hopes of earning your interest in the work that we are doing with nearly 100 children with special needs each week. Over time, we look forward to sharing on this blog – through stories of our children, staff, and horses - a closer look into the work that we are doing.
Carousel Ranch is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing equestrian therapy and recreational activities for disabled children, creating a unique and individualized program to meet each child’s specific needs and goals. Utilizing a combination of vaulting (gymnastics on a moving horse) and therapeutic riding (both English and Western), we strive to create an atmosphere where every child can and will succeed…a place where therapy is disguised as fun.
The benefits are different for every child, depending on their individual needs. The movement of the horse causes an inherent response from the child, relaxing muscles that are tight, increasing tone in muscles that are weak – building balance, coordination and control, which in turn enable children to use hands and arms, sit, stand and walk. But…there is so much more including obvious changes in behavior, attention span, self-esteem, confidence and social interaction.
Each and every day, we see children do things that they have never done before. For us…that is what it is all about. The smile on a child’s face as she does something for the first time…a child’s first words as he tells his horse to walk…or the voices of a parent telling us how Carousel Ranch has changed the life of their child. For us, these are the things that matter…this is why we are here.
The words of a parent say more than we could ever hope to…
“Cassidy has Perisylvian Syndrome, a disorder that has damaged the portion of the brain that controls speech or swallow. She also is unable to walk at this time. At a meeting for her before she started riding, I expressed that all I wanted was to hear my little girl say “momma” just once. My hope was, like a few other children I had heard about, that the horseback riding would strengthen her abdominals and give her the strength to get those words out. About a day or two after her first ride, she said “momma” for the first time. I could not believe my ears. I knew that the horseback riding had made all of the difference.”
At the Ranch, we see children and families who find their blessings disguised and concealed from view. But every day we also see some miracle reveal itself. Carousel Ranch is about helping people find courage they didn’t know they had. It is about showing families that they can do things they thought were impossible. It is about a little girl taking her first unaided steps. It is the silent little boy who finally speaks. Carousel Ranch is about hope.
Will Rogers once said, “Nothing is better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse”.
As we share our journey with each of you, you will see how true this simple statement is.