Celebrating our over 30 years of service, since 1988 Hugs for Horses Therapeutic Riding Program has been harnessing the healing power of houses to transform the lives of children and adults with disabilities in our community. Donating to Hugs for Horses Therapeutic Riding Program assures a child or adult with disabilities has the opportunity to grow more able physically, intellectually, socially, and emotionally through his or her unique relationship with a horse...and all no cost to already overwhelmed families. Please join with us in ensuring our citizens with lifelong disabilities can become all they are meant to be!
Each week, Hugs' horses along with awesome leadership and amazing volunteers work to improve the outcomes of 65 riders ages 3-55+ with such disabilities as Down 's syndrome, cerebral palsy, Autism, Muscular Dystrophy, and vision and hearing impairment. For riders with disabilities, the challenge of riding a horse strengthens their bodies, relaxes muscles and minds, and inspires independence, compassion, and self-confidence. And, in our community where recreational activities appropriate for those with special needs is limited, horseback riding provides a team atmosphere that is both safe and so much fun! It's the therapy that doesn't feel like therapy!
Meet Katherine, in her mother's words...
Thinking about the fact that Katherine has been riding with Hugs for
Horses for many years in itself tells you that this is a program of great value. Katherine is excited to come out to the horse
barn every Monday. The program is unique in that it is highly structured and
safe, while at the same time constantly changing. It is structured with the
schedule of the kids coming out and knowing that they need to brush their
horse, put on their helmet, and then wait for their turn to mount their horse.
It teaches patience, discipline, listening skills, and perseverance along with
the physical benefits of balance and coordination.It is constantly changing because each child
rides a live horse with a personality and likes and dislikes. I love the fact
that while the children bond with the horses, they also know
that they may ride a different horse from week to week. For a child with a
disability, this is important because it’s teaching them to live with change. I
would say that Hugs for Horses has added a wonderful chapter to both my
daughter, Katherine’s, life and our family’s life that no other sport or
activity could have given us. The horses become like friends, and even the
dusty air and animal smell of the barn become a cherished place.
The beauty of this program goes beyond the obvious physical and social benefits to a place deep within the child. It gives my daughter pride and accomplishment in what she is able to do. She rides a horse independently, walking and trotting, standing in the stirrups or sitting in the saddle every week. And she does all of this with joy - no fear. And that is priceless.
The Hugs program has twelve amazing therapy horses, ranging from "gentle giant" Liam, a Belgian Draft horse who can carry our several 300+ lb. riders, to Nestle, a successfully shown registered Paint and Quarter horse who is very careful with even the youngest of riders, to Elsa, our therapy miniature horse, who simply just loves to be loved. The twelve horses all patiently walk, jog, and nuzzle their way into the hearts, bodies, and souls of their riders.
The mission of Hugs for Horses Therapeutic Riding Program is to transform the lives of people with disabilities in the Georgetown, SC community through safe, effective, and fun therapeutic and recreational horseback riding, without regard to ethnicity, gender, religion, or ability to pay.