Our son Skyler, started riding lessons at SYVTRP eight years ago. He was sixteen, and was at first, very reluctant being close to a horse. It took the whole lesson time to even get him up on the horse. Skyler has autism. Without the verbal skills to tell anyone what was scaring him, it was hard to figure out a plan or system to make him comfortable. With care and compassion, the instructors worked with him, easing his worries, and he started enjoying his riding time.
Skyler is now 24 and eagerly looks forward to his riding lessons on
Thursdays. He will mount up easily and talk while riding. A few months ago, he finally made the connection between the reigns and their function. Now he spends part of every lesson “off-lead,” where he’s totally in control of his horse! It makes him so proud to handle the horse by himself!
He loves to go on trail rides and participate in the annual Rider’s
Roundup. Riding and learning about horses has given our son a big boost in his self-esteem. He has more confidence in himself. Riding also helps calm him down.
Programs like this, allow everyone who’s involved, the opportunity to
realize that goals can become realities. We are very grateful for the
dedication of the staff and volunteers who make this program such a
success. A heartfelt “thank you” for everything!
Joan and Larry Hale
Our son Luciano has been riding with the Program now for almost a year and we are thrilled with the results! This three year old, diagnosed with Autism in May of 2008, has no fear of climbing onto some of the largest horses in the program and having them “walk on”! Luciano has incredible demands on him throughout the week with behavioral and speech therapy and it is a joy when we reach Saturday mornings to be part of this miraculous program! Thank you, thank you from the bottom of our hearts! We believe in the healing that animals can bring to our children!
– Alfonso, Amy, Giacomo and Luciano Curti
I’m finding it very difficult to only say a few sentences about what this program has meant to Jesse and our family. It has brought so many blessings to our lives. A love of these very special horses, a connection stemming from the sensory satisfaction he receives while riding. Jesse benefits in so many ways from Therapeutic Riding lessons you can see it in his face while he is riding. He just lights up!! It has been a very strong tool in his intervention and has allowed him to connect with people and animals on a totally different level. We love Santa Ynez Therapeutic Riding Program.
Carrie Zaragoza – Jesse’s Mom
My son has now completed one session (6 lessons).
My boy is not on medication this summer, first time in a long
time. He has been able to slow down his thinking process to allow his
“problem solving’ abilities to expand. His compassion for others has
increased, while his self centeredness has decreased. His
responsibility with our own pets has greatly expanded. I believe that
the Equestrian Therapy; the love and patience of “Chic” (his horse at
the Center) has gone beneath the layers of my son that no one can see.
The layers that once labeled him as impaired are now being shaped into the man he will become.”
Our son Kevin began with the SYVTRP about five years ago. He had not been around horses and this began an adventure to open his world of horses and riding. He started out with side walkers and lead. Then advanced to just lead, then the exciting day came when he rode alone. This was the beginning of “Big Smiles”, because next came trotting or as Kevin said “trouting” and then loping and the smile got bigger. Kevin’s confidence was
enhanced; his posture improved and was so great to see him accomplish
such a wonderful sport. This program is the very best. The instructors and volunteers are so dedicated, caring, giving of themselves and their time. The SYVTRP is one of the most wonderful Programs there are for youth and adults with special needs. Support for this program is so necessary and so beneficial.
Barbara and Larry Kurz”
“She signs (American Sign Language) more in an hour at the Program than she does all day in class!”
Monica Sadler, Solvang School teacher