Every year at the Stokes County Fair, I organize the Horsin’ Around Day (Thursday, September 15th, 2016). Since my very first year, the Riverwood Therapeutic Riding Center has participated. I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce you to their amazing work!
Riverwood is a 53 acre facility located in Tobaccoville, N.C. and is operated as a non-profit 501c(3) organization. They have been diligently servicing the public since 1995. How do they serve the public?
As a Premier Accredited Therapeutic Riding Center through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, Intl. (PATH, Intl.), their certified professionals provide goal oriented instruction and therapy tailored to each student. Their programs are both on and off the horses. The amazing part about utilizing horses is they give immediate, pure, and positive feedback.
On the Horses! Therapeutic Horseback Riding is taught by certified instructors utilizing the horses as a therapeutic tool. I have personally watched the confidence and agility increased by these riding students! I asked a rider what surprised her the most about her therapy at Riverwood.
Her response, “I am more confident at school. I can do things now I could not do before riding. If I cannot yet do something, I know it will come with time!” With tears in my eyes, we hugged!
On horseback, students receive a holistic approach to providing them with what they need physically to gain strength; people are always surprised by the emotional strength also gained!
On the ground! Equine Facilitated Learning provides students the opportunity to gain confidence and self-awareness on the ground. Relationships are developed between horse and human; people of all ages and abilities can benefit from this type of therapy.
The Mobile Education and Outreach trailer brings the action to you! With two miniature horses on board, interactive and educational activities for adults and children, this mobile option is perfect for schools, retirement communities, hospice, youth groups, camps, and community events of all kinds!
What about the horses? The horses are specially selected and trained for therapeutic work. Each horse knows its role in the therapeutic process and daily rises to the occasion of making a difference in the lives of the students! On the website, you can meet each of the horses living and working at Riverwood.
What about the volunteers? As more students discover the benefits of Riverwood, more volunteers are needed. Surprisingly, volunteers do not need prior horse experience; all you need is a desire to learn and help! The Certified instructors will provide you with all the training you need to be an integral part of Riverwood. All you need is to be 14+ years old and the physical ability to walk for 45 minutes at a time. Some students start out volunteering as a requirement for college/school courses, but end up hooked on the experience. One volunteer started out as a 14 year old needing volunteer hours; today she is 23 and does not plan on leaving any day soon. Retired seniors love volunteering for the 10 a.m. classes! The most unexpected job of a volunteer is the reward you too get from working with the horses! One volunteer stated it best, “The time I spent with Riverwood has touched my life in many ways!”
With each class requiring an average of eight volunteers, everyone should consider if they have room in their schedule and heart to volunteer at Riverwood.
So, when you attend the Horsin’ Around Day at the Fair, be sure to stop by the Mobile Education Trailer, say hello to the mini horses they bring, and learn about volunteer opportunities. You can also connect with them on Facebook and at www.riverwoodtrc.org or call them at 336.922.6426
Tell them I sent you!
Dayla Kay Kohler