Thank you to the riders and their families who allowed use to use their pictures and testimonials!
Northwoods Fine Arts Academy
After only eight (8) weeks of therapeutic riding at ATRC (eight (8) riding lessons):
“My students have increased in their ability to follow directions, have gained confidence to communicate in front of their peers, and have decreased in their emotional challenges. Horse therapy is a great and appropriate addition to our curriculum that truly affects their quality of life.”
Amy McAllister, Special Education Teacher at Northwoods Fine Arts Academy – Sand Springs, OK.
Erin enjoys her weekly therapeutic riding lessons at ATRC thank to her sponsor, Josh Connally.
Bernadette, Tonio’s Mom
“Tonio is 5 yrs old and has been riding at ATRC for about a year. He has developed a strong bond and love of Horses since riding. Tonio is Autistic and non-verbal and has sensory issues. His trial ride he screamed the entire 30 min because of the helmet on his head. We did not know if we would get a call back but we did and the rest is history!! Tonio is more calm after riding and his vocabulary is improving and he now has a collection of horses!!!!” Rider, Tonio began riding May 2012, rides weekly. Bernadette, Tonio’s Mom – Tulsa, Oklahoma. June 2013.
“I like Horsie. She was my favorite. I rode her for a long time. What makes me happy is riding Buster. It makes my heart feel happy when I ride and unhappy when I don’t ride.” Rider, Mia began riding Septembr 2008, rides weekly. Tulsa, Oklahoma. June 2013
“We have two daughters who are close in age. Mia’s sister is in gymnastics and dance – activities that she cannot participate in. Mia is our horsewoman, the horse is her legs.” DJ, Mia’s Dad.
“Mia is a veteran rider with ATRC – they have become a family – we can never express our gratitude for how this experience has changed our little girl’s world :)! I guess you could say Mia has grown up aside ATRC – and they keep growing…” Shantana, Mia’s Mom.
Kari, Isaiah’s Mom
“I just cried like a baby watching how far he’s come and how much he loves horseback!” Rider, Isaiah began riding September 2001, rides weekly. Kari, Isaiah’s Mom – Tulsa, Oklahoma. April 2013. To watch Isaiah’s First Hour of Independence click here.
“When I have a son I will teach him about this place.” Rider, Ismael began riding June 2009 , weekly – Tulsa, Oklahoma. April 2013.
Ginger, Griffin’s Mom
“Today Griffin is more typical and can participate in more age appropriate activities. His behavior challenges have really decreased while his verbal skills have improved. Recently he was able to write a complete word without lifting his stylus off the tablet. Last but not least, he sleeps much better which is a great relief also for me!” Rider, Griffin began riding March 2011, weekly. Ginger, Griffin’s Mom – Tulsa, Oklahoma. June 2013.
Anderson Public School
“Thank you for the opportunity for our students to experience the riding center this 2011-2012 school year! Words cannot express our gratitude for your kindness and generosity in providing riding lessons for our students. Our students at Anderson Elementary School have improved in so many ways including strengthening their core trunks, confidence, speech/language, following directions, balance, and their general attitude. They ask everyday “Is it horseback day?”
Some of our WOW MEMORIES include one of our three year olds using a first complete sentence, “I want to ride Horsey.” He followed that sentence with “I go to school.” Another student who has struggled with confidence is now overflowing with confidence. He brags often that he can ride a horse by himself. In class he had difficulty following directions, and now rarely is in trouble.
We are looking forward to the coming 2012-2013 school year. We can hardly wait to see the positive effects that will continue growth from your program.”
Mr. Brett Banker – Superintendent, Mrs. Penny Sessions and Mrs. Audrey Kirby – Special Services at Anderson Public School – Sand Springs, OK.
Angus Valley Elementary School
“Students have experienced a new-found confidence. They are more outgoing and verbal. They initiate communication. They have increased focus and attention in class, increased motivation to do things, more smiles…the list goes on. We are extremely happy with the results and look forward to the future.” Began riding August 2008, weekly. Mrs. Carrie Schlehuber, Teacher at Angus Valley Elementary – Sand Springs, OK.
Laura, Lindsay’s Mom
“Riding horses gives her a fun activity, something like other children can do, only with therapeutic benefits. We can say our child is a horse rider.” Rider, Lindsay began riding August 2008, weekly. Laura and Steve, Lindsay’s parents – Bristow, Oklahoma.
Vickie, Sarah’s Mom
“Sarah is just a different kid now! Since she started to ride at ATRC she is much more focused, more concentrated at school and her communication skills as well as social skills have gone way up! Her physical abilities have also tremendously improved. Before riding Sarah could walk only a short distance, now she has the strength to go for long walks and yesterday she even weeded the yard!“ Rider, Sarah rides weekly. Vickie, Sarah’s Mom – Cleveland, Oklahoma. June 2013. To hear more about Sarah’s story on YouTube, click here.
Brenda, Johnathan’s Mom
Johnathan, a previous student of Mrs. Carrie’s class, continues to develop his horsemanship skills with us.
“Mrs. Carries summed it up but to add a bit more, Johnathan is always smiling when he is around or on his horse. His communication has tremendously improved, he is a lot more talkative. When we miss more than two weeks of riding, there is some setback and it can take another two weeks of riding (one ride per week) to get back to the level we were.” Rider, Johnathan began riding August 2008, weekly. Brenda, Johnathan’s Mom – Sand Springs, Oklahoma. June 2013.
A Family Affair
Left to right: Brian, ATRC’s first rider; Uncle David, sponsor; Brother Zachary, rider; Grandpa John, Grandma Phyllys and Delila, Ambassadors and volunteers; Aunt Gayle, sponsor; Sister Ashley and Mom Angie, volunteers
“In addition to his doctor’s, therapist, and the Shiner’s program, Brian has ridden at ATRC weekly. In January 2009, his Shriner doctor informed us that Brian can now to go sleep without wearing his ankle braces to bed for the first time in eight years. Riding horses has assisted tremendously with the strengthening of his legs and ankles.” Rider, Brian. Began riding August, 2007, weekly. Angie, Brian’s Mom – Sapulpa, Oklahoma.
2013 update: “Brian’s language and communication have tremendously improved in clarity and the amount of words, from speaking one word to communicating in complete sentences. The continued exercise is also great.” Angie, Brian’s Mom
Zachary, ATRC’s representative in fundraising shows, demonstrates a rider’s ability to become independent and continually improve in horsemanship skills.
“Zachary’s confidence and sense of belonging to a team as a valuable member have skyrocketed his self-worth.” Angie, Zachary’s Mom “He has changed 180°; his social skills, speech, everything about him has changed. He is a totally different person.” Grandpa John
“God created this place and the miracles that happen here. My grand children’s future is much brighter because of their progress in this program. Quality of life has not only changed for them, it has changed for our entire family.”
Kimberly, Simone’s Mom
“In addition to her doctor’s, therapist and after riding horses on a weekly basis for four months, Simone’s lower body strength had improved 40%. The length of her braces has gone from knee-high, to mid-calf, to ankle over the period of time. In January 2009, she was informed by the Shriner’s hospital that her right leg is almost normal and that, in the not too distant future, Simone could be brace free. Horseback riding has immeasurably helped with strength and mobility.” Rider, Simone began riding March 2008, weekly. Kimberly, Simone’s Mom – Claremore, Oklahoma.
Karen, Anna’s Mom
“Anna is 28 and has had 2 brain surgeries and has seizures all of her life. She has a special connection with animals. Our family calls her Dr. Dolittle. She has always liked horses since she was a little girl.
We have been coming to ATRC for several years for riding and making progress with her therapy. Anna has paired up with several horses, but when she got on Peaches to ride, it was a perfect match. One day they were doing their work out and all was going well until Peaches stopped and would not walk any more. While we were stopped, Anna had a seizure. Then, after she recovered, we continued our work out. A few weeks later, Peaches froze again and would not walk even with our encouragement. Again Anna had a seizure and the light bulb went off. Peaches knew Anna was going to have a seizure and stopped to protect her. Peaches knew before anyone Anna needed help.
A friendship like that doesn’t come often in life. It doesn’t matter if you have two legs or four. Friendship comes in all sizes.”
Rider, Anna began riding October 2007, weekly. Karen, Anna’s Mom – Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. February 2012.
Garry, Baylee’s Grandfather
“I am excited about Baylee’s advancement in walking, core strength and overall well-being. Baylee wasn’t able to walk when she started but now has found her balance. Riding gave her the jump start she needed. She has gained confidence and her social skills have tremendously improved, all of the good stuff. Everything is positive!” Rider, Baylee began riding May 2011, weekly. Garry, Baylee’s Grandpa – Tulsa, Oklahoma. June 2013.
Stephanie, Anna’s Mom
“Anna had tried so hard for years to ride her bike. She had a bike as early 4 years old with training wheels that she could ride somewhat. Even with the training wheels, she didn’t have a lot of strength in her legs to pedal. As she got older though, she wanted to take them off and ride without them like the other kids did. She decided at 8 to take them off, but never did have the balance, strength or coordination to ride without them. She would try every 6 months or so to do it, but never could. Finally, a few months ago she wanted to try again. She was taller now, and needed to ride one of our bikes and got on mine. Anna not only rode without training wheels, she rode fast, and she actually rode around our neighborhood block as well! She has ridden every day since then and loves it. This is her third year riding at ATRC. I know that her riding has improved her balance and coordination, as well as her muscle strength. It’s amazing! Her dad and I are stunned at her progress. She’s doing things we never thought that she would be able to do. Don’t ever tell her she can’t do something, because she will not give up! ” Rider, Anna began riding October 2011, weekly. Stephanie, Anna’s Mom – Mannford, Oklahoma. June 2013.
“My name is Alison Zerger and before I began “horse racing” I essentially had the muscle mass of a sparrow, was unable to balance at all while standing without holding onto anything, or make a sound unless I was lying down. Now, thanks to numerous years of “racing dem horsies,” numerous therapies, plus training at a gym my body has returned to its formally muscular self, and I lost the ankle braces. Now I am able to walk with a walker, which will hopefully be ditched shortly for something less cumbersome, or nothing at all… yeah, I’ll take that. The “horse racing” has also helped to increase my diaphragmatic strength and I can now talk some. We all remain astounded at how much this has helped, I mean who’d have thought? But I do plan to continue until I’m walking freely which, despite what all the doctors and whoever else said/says WILL HAPPEN because I’m not quite ready to roll over and play dead yet.” Rider, Alison began riding August 2007, weekly. Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. June 2013.
Alison was interviewed by Tulsa World on Thursday August 15th 2013, to read the article and watch the video, click here.
Tera, Anson’s Mom
“Anson’s most impressive achievements are his improved ability to focus, listen and follow directions. Riding is also great to bring his center down, it is very calming for him. Anson loves to pet horses, he really benefits from the contact with those animals, who helped him gain a great deal of confidence.” Rider, Anson began riding December 2010, weekly. Tera, Anson’s Mom – Tulsa, Oklahoma. June 2013.
Nancy, Thomas’ Mom
“Before riding at ATRC, Thomas was so afraid of horses that he would scream and cry. He has greatly improved in speech, posture and overall confidence. Today he has no more fear of getting on a horse or being around horses in general.” Rider, Thomas began riding December 2010, weekly. Nancy, Thomas’ Mom – Kellyville, Oklahoma. June 2013.