daughter, Annmarie, began riding at SDTRHR 3 years ago. Annmarie
is 8 years old and has cerebral palsy. She is not able to
actively participate in recreational sports as her siblings
do, so when she had the opportunity to ride horses, her face
just lit up! She loves to ride and loves going to see all
of the wonderful volunteers! Prior to riding, she had to sit
in her wheelchair to watch her brother's football games. Since
she began riding, Annmarie is now able to sit on the bleacher
without assistance! That makes her feel so proud! Horseback
riding has improved her torso strength so much that she stands
up straighter, as well. This program is so amazing, and the
wonderful volunteers that spend countless hours every week
are so awesome!! I would recommend this program 100%!
-- Bridgette Perrotta
Some Comments from Our Valued Volunteers
name is Miki Mathe and I am a volunteer at SDTRHR. Of all
the things I do, being a volunteer at SDTRHR is one of my
most rewarding experiences. To me it is so awesome to see
the change that takes place with the riders after they get
on the horse. Once mounted and moving the joy, thrill, and
enjoyment expressed by the riders in a variety of forms is
priceless. And the horses also seem to know that they carry
special cargo. I’m pleased that in some small way I
contribute to that positive experience for the riders.
is Tonia Vonritchie. I've been a volunteer since 1999. It's
a wonderful feeling working with the kids, watching them smile
and trusting us and the horses. I have watched a lot of the
kids grow up to be adults. I love going out to help as much
as I can. I know as a parent how much this program can change
the kids. I have a 9-year-old daughter with ADHD in the program.
She gets so excited to go out to the barn. She loves the horses
and the positive impact carries through to all aspects of
-- Tonia Vonritchie
Aundonia is a 4th grader with ADHD, OCD, and Pervasive Developmental
Disorder, which is in the autism spectrum. Each of these conditions
make her unable to interact with adults or peers in a socially
acceptable manner. Because she is usually unsuccessful in
her day to day interactions, Aundonia often feels like a failure.
admit that I was skeptical about the program, at first. You
see, Aundonia is no stranger to horses; I am a horsewoman,
myself. However, I quickly discovered that riding therapy
is much more than horseback riding. Georgia and Kelly help
Aundonia work on her balance and coordination, her attention
span and communication skills, and her empathy for other creatures.
Both women are as kind and patient as their horses. When she
is on a therapy horse like Lucy or Willy Wonka, Aundonia can
enjoy a sense of pride and confidence that she experiences
Aundonia's riding lessons have given us the opportunity to
share a common interest. This might seem like a very minor
or simple thing, but it is monumental to me. Due to her disorders,
Aundonia is often unable to sustain a conversation that would
interest others or find anything in common with them, but
her riding lessons are something we can easily discuss.
the program is a blessing, and I hope to see it GROW and continue!