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Friday, February 29, 2008

Would you like to go to a place where you are guaranteed to see smiling faces? Spend a little time with the Mounted Eagles riding program. The Mounted Eagles have been providing therapeutic horsemanship to persons with special needs since 1992. They started with one horse and one rider, one instructor and three volunteers. They now have the ability to provide services for up to 150 riders per week with seven horses, four NARHA certified instructors and 50+ volunteers. Their riders range from 3 to 65 years of age.

When people talk about the Mounted Eagles volunteers they often use words like Hero, honor, integrity, commitment, positive, hard-working, etc. Those words don’t only apply to the volunteers. If you met the riders you would know what I mean. This is a short list of what some of the riders deal with: mild to severe Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Traumatic Brain Injury, Mental Retardation, Learning Disabilities, MS, Angel’s Syndrome, seizure disorders, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and disorders resulting from exposure to drug and/or physical abuse by family members. There have been instances where doctors told parents not to expect their child to do certain things. With the love of their caregivers and the help of the Mounted Eagles program, some children have been able to push past those pre-set boundaries. Children that weren’t supposed to become verbal have been able to give their horses simple directions! “Go Horsey!”

And if you aren’t already chomping at the bit to meet the volunteers and the riders, let me introduce you to the horses. Who couldn’t fall in love with horses named, Ace, Angel, Rosie, and Wind Dancer? Even if the horses’ names aren’t decorative, it doesn’t mean they are valued any less. Bill is the “Gentle Giant” at the barn; some folks wouldn’t be able to ride without him. http://www.mountedeagles.org/horses.php

How do I know all this information? I was a volunteer. I’ve been chronically unwell and unable to volunteer in the capacity I would like. But I love the program, I love the volunteers, I love the horses, and most of all, I love the riders. I miss them all. There’s nothing more fantastic than going to “the barn”, tacking up the horses, and watching the riders' enthusiasm and see them make progress. I feel fortunate and humble to be involved in this program. I wrote this to share the joy I experienced.

If any of this sounds exciting to you, please contact the Mounted Eagles. They can always use your considerate donations of time, finances, or good horses.

Their website: http://www.mountedeagles.org/contact.php
Or Phone: 1-888-828-9920

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (KJV) Isaiah 40:31

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