“Ahead With Horses is the best charity helping disabled children with an extraordinary outdoor program that empowers them. I’m honored to support them and just wish everyone could see the relationship between the children, their therapeutic riding instructors and therapy horses that is so inspiring”
– Dan Haggerty (Grizzly Adams)
“With this program, we have the hope for our son to be the best he can be. Isn’t that what we all want” — John C., Parent
You can’t watch these kids without knowing you have to help, somehow.William Shatner, Actor & CEO Hollywood Charity Horse Show
“Adam visited AWH when he was 5 years old. He is now 32 years old and still is inspired to get his AWH shirt on for a lesson each Thursday. We are extremely grateful for Michelle and the staff and of course our four-legged equine friends for all their patience and expertise in working with our children. Adam can now walk with assistance, sits straight, which is good for his core, enjoys patting the horses and the time with the instructor.
A lesson with AWH is more than a pony ride. It strengthens the core, helps with scoliosis, provides important one-on-one instruction and socialization with instructor and leaders that often disabled kids lack in their schedules. The gait of the horse is the same as a human and Adam has stretched over the girth of his horse and it helps with his walking. He is stretched and his balance is worked with as he is manipulated around the horse sitting sideways or facing backward. You can’t get this therapy anywhere else.
Thank you AWH for allowing my young man to grow with your program.
— Beth Muraida, Parent
We would like to start off with how much we appreciate your allowing our son, Oliver, be a part of your hippotherapy program. It has been a delight for us to be waking up every Saturday morning and driving up to stables where we’ve not only noticed marked improvements in our son’s demeanor, when he sees and rides the horses, but also physically during and after sessions.
Though our son may be non-verbal and non-communicative, but the subtle signs that he shows, such as relaxed breathing and non-tensing of muscles, tells us that the therapy sessions has been doing him well since we started back in January of this year. The biggest improvement we’ve seen to date is the ability of Ollie to be able to spread his legs at an angle further than he’s ever been since he was diagnosed with bilateral hip dysplasia last year. Nowadays, it’s been much easier to perform certain daily activities with Oliver, such as changing his diapers or perineal care or simply getting him into his car seat, wherein before it would be such a task for us as Oliver tenses his legs and closes them up in anticipation of the activity.
The instructors and staff at AHEAD with Horses are very knowledgeable and friendly. We look forward to being part of the program long term,.
—Jess and Mariceli Tio, Parents
Sylvain’s scoliosis curve has gone from 47 degrees to 20 degrees in just one year! I am so grateful to AHEAD With Horses for being such a dedicated organization that has helped Sylvain grow with leaps and bounds along with helping him along with his speech. Thank you for building such a great trust with Sylvain and helping him develop a relationship with horses!—James R., Parent
There is no greater delight than my “Cowboy Sam” gets than to come and visit “his” horses at AWH. I have seen Sam grow in confidence as the horses teach him about balance and strength. He looks forwards to his time at AWH with joy.
Sam has very athletic brothers, but as a boy whose development has been delayed by epilepsy, he cannot participate in team sports. AHEAD With Horses gives Sam an active, carefree and delightful outlet where he can grow his skills in something that is all his own.
I would absolutely, without reservation recommend AWH to others. Michelle, Elsa, Helene and every volunteer we’ve interacted with is empathic, kind, patient and devoted to their vision of bringing wholeness to children.
—John B., Sam’s dad
“After years of standard physical, occupational and other therapies, the one that I am certain has improved my son’s abilities the most is horseback riding. Ahead with Horses has not only aided in his trunk support and independence, it is one of the few times where he is completely oblivious to the fact that he is in “therapy”! The joy he experiences is something that cannot be replaced, …” —Ivey S., Parent
I wanted to let you know that since you’ve been putting Liv on her knees with Minty she asks to go on her knees every night before bed. She’s so much stronger at it it’s amazing. She tells me to put her hands around her waist “like Michelle does,” and tells me that on Minty she needs help with her head but not on the floor. And last night she said “I like getting stronger” and I almost cried. Thank you!Sharon F., Parent
“After just two sessions, I have already noticed a difference in Max! He sits and stands taller. His trunk seems stronger. I am so very grateful that such a program exists for children, like my son, who can benefit on so many levels – physically, emotionally, mentally. Being on a horse and moving in space without the aid of some external device can be incredibly liberating. I thank you all for this opportunity!” —Heesun H., Parent
“When I was a senior in high school, we had to choose a place to do community service. I chose Ahead With Horses and it was one of the best experiences of my life. That was 21 years ago. A great friend of mine has a son who has Autism and he is doing horse therapy and loves it. Just wanted to let you know that what you do had an impact on my life.”—Janet O., Volunteer
This is a marvelous program, run by caring, well-trained professionals. As a result of my son’s autism, he had very low muscle tone in his mid-region. This resulted in a general lack of coordination and a lack of awareness of his body relative to his surroundings. It didn’t take us long to see significant improvement in these areas once he started at Ahead With Horses. To see this little boy standing with confidence on top on a moving horse where once he had to be held tightly in place by an instructor because he couldn’t tolerate the movement is to witness a small miracle. He is now playing T-Ball and soccer, two things we never considered 5 years ago.Ron O., Parent
“When she first started on a horse accompanied by Michelle, her instructor, she was somewhat floppy and could not sit on the horse without support and assistance. As time went by you could see her strength building up and she started to sit upright, increased focus and attention and joyfully enjoying the movement of the horse. I strongly believe that she has created an emotional bond with the horses and the movement on the horse has increased her awareness of her body, equilibrium and balance, depth of vision and great laughter to name of few.
All of these benefits have been seen at home. We have noticed that her body is not as tense and instead more relaxed and quick when she goes from standing to crawling and visa versa. Also, we have noticed that she tends to rotate her body to move from one direction to another with a more fluid motion. She seems to be more aware of her surroundings and specifically can focus in on people or objects for a longer period of time whereas before she would quickly scan everything and everyone around her.
We regularly take Phoebe outdoors because we know the importance of getting her outside for many reasons but especially to increase her depth of vision as oppose to the limitations of being indoors. Well, I believe that being outdoors, on a large horse and experiencing the movement to her entire body has awaken and increased her overall awareness and development which in turn have increased her small and large motor skills.
When we tell Phoebe that she is going to go on the horsy her face illuminates and she seems to understand. Also, when we arrive at the ranch and Phoebe sees the horse her body will thrust forward with excitement and there is pure joy on her face. Never have we seen fear, sadness or lack of zeal when she comes to ride the horses instead we can see the expression on her face and body that says, “I can’t wait to get on the horse.”
—Clara M., Parent
God saw the need and gave us the horses and waited for us to discover how important they truly areLiz Helms, Founder of AWH