A horse's nose from the perspective of a young child.

A Success Story

Horses change lives ....of even the youngest ones

Pre-Kindergarten with Disabilities students from Corey Baldwin's class participate in 9 weekly sessions of therapeutic horseback riding and barn experiences.   Please read Mr. B's  affirmation of the impact of therapeutic riding on his students. 

Hugs  for Horses has been nothing short of an amazing experience for our  students! To start, the trip to a farm, with all of the plants, animals,  sights, sounds, smells, etc. has been something that most, if not all,  of our children have never had the opportunity to experience. When we  got off the bus for the first time, we were greeted by a few of the  resident farm dogs (who are extremely friendly), which was terrifying  for a few of our students. Clearly, these kids had not had positive  experiences with dogs thus far in their lives. By our 8th session, those  same kids were willing to walk past the dogs without being picked up,  and without tears of fear! The growth from session to session is really  exciting to watch.

In regards to the horses, riding has been  another completely new experience for our kids, and we have watched as  they have grown leaps and bounds. Most of our students were timid to be  around and on such large animals at first. It is truly amazing to see  the changes once a child is on one of the horses! There is an immediate  calming effect, especially for those students who may have been  frightened to get on. Once they are in the saddle and the horse is  moving, the nerves vanish and usually a smile appears! By the second or  third session, these kids were not only not nervous of the horses  anymore, they were eager to have their turns!

We have seen great  things from these kids when they are on the horses. Our students who  have trouble with sensory input processing are calmed to the point that  they are able to focus more clearly on a given task. One of our students  with low verbal communication skills was able to repeat and imitate  word after word while riding on the horse. Another student was so  calmed/relieved after riding, that for the first time she was able to  jump up and down on command. Yet another student (not spontaneously  verbal) was requesting toys and play things while on the horse. Without  being a doctor or a scientist it is hard to say for sure what about  riding horses is causing these effects, but the results are real.. and  really exciting!

Corey Baldwin
Special Educator
Andrews Elementary School

  Thank you poster from Mr. B's Class  

Feed It Forward

Hugs for Horses Therapeutic Riding recently won a grant from Nutrena Feed Company's "Feed It Forward" program.  In accepting the grant, Hugs had to agree to being videoed and interviewed by Nutrena, showing how its horses change lives.    Please watch this feel-good interview and video of teacher Corey Baldwin and his students.  You'll be glad you did!