1. Who is eligible to ride at Dayspring?

Children and adults with disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, emotional and behavior disorders, development and intellectual delays, to name a few, are eligible to ride in Dayspring’s Therapeutic Riding program.  This includes children from local school districts, adults from group homes and day programs in the community and adults residing at local nursing homes.

Military service personnel that may be living with challenges such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, amputations, or Traumatic Brain Injuries are eligible to participate in mounted and unmounted class sessions in Dayspring’s “Hooves for Heroes” program format.

Individuals without disabilities can participate in private or group lessons as well as Dayspring’s summer camp program.

  1. Why use horses?  What are the benefits of Therapeutic Riding?

The three-dimensional motion of the horse provides the rider hip and back action (up and down/side to side/forward and back movement) which simulates natural walking.  A 30-minute ride provides the rider around 3,000 repetitions of a normal human walking pattern which in turn stimulates their central nervous system and allows new motor paths to be formed in the brain.  This alternative method of exercising for a person who cannot on their own, strengthens weakened muscles and bones, creating a beneficial effect in the body of the rider.  Educational goals are also a key factor in Therapeutic Riding, which help to enhance the rider’s cognitive functions such as letter recognition, sequencing, social situations, and solving challenging situations, to name a few.

For many disabled people, the horse becomes the legs they do not have or cannot use.  Riding relaxes and strengthens muscles and improves muscular development, posture, balance, joint mobility, and coordination.  Some participants find a new joy in going somewhere without a wheelchair.  For many, it becomes an enormous confidence builder, inspiring them to try other things they had previously found too intimidating.  Being with such a large animal is empowering.  As the horse begins to feel emotionally and physically comfortable with his rider, he comes to accept them, along with their physical limitations, without judgment.  When a disabled rider perceives and feels this nonjudgmental acceptance from their horse, it can often produce significant emotional healing for one’s feelings of inadequacy or self-doubt. Riders learn skills, develop relationships, discover companionship and bonding, and have a positive emotional experience at Dayspring.

  1. When are lessons offered?

Therapeutic Riding classes are offered six days a week throughout the year when the weather permits. Winter, spring, fall, and summer semesters are each 10 weeks in length.  In addition, young riders of all abilities, ages 6-16, can register to attend a week of day camp, hours 8-12, during the summer months of June and July.  Contact Sheryl Fogle, Executive Director at 903-923-5552 or 817-980-2535 for more information.

Private riding lessons are offered during the weekend.  Contact Sheryl Fogle, Executive Director at 903-923-5552 or 817-980-2535 to arrange a riding lesson time and receive more information.

  1. How do you enroll in Dayspring’s Therapeutic Riding program?

Prospective participants are given information and the forms required for the application.  After all forms, including a medical history, are submitted to Dayspring, the potential participant’s eligibility is assessed.  Children must be at least four years old; there is no upper age limit.

To learn more and obtain the appropriate paperwork, contact Sheryl Fogle, Executive Director at 903-923-5552 or 817-980-2535.

  1. How do I schedule a visit to Dayspring?

To schedule a tour of Dayspring’s facility, contact Sheryl Fogle, Executive Director at 903-923-5552 or 817-980-2535.

  1. How many horses do you have? What types of horses do you have?

Here at Dayspring we have 11 horses of all sizes ranging from a palomino miniature horse to a Clydesdale/Quarter Horse cross.

  1. I have horses I wish to donate. How would I know if my horse is a good candidate?

It is mentally and physically challenging for a horse to perform the job that Dayspring requires them to complete daily. They must be sound at the walk, trot, and canter with three rhythmic and balanced gaits. The horses must listen to both voice and leg signals, be quiet and well-mannered on the ground, and be accepting of assistive devices and equipment.  All of horses must tolerate one or two people walking and trotting beside them.  Dayspring prefers horses who are younger than 18 years old and are under 16.2 hands tall.

If you are interested in considering Dayspring as a home for your horse, please contact Sheryl Fogle, Executive Director or at 903-923-5552 or 817-980-2535 for more information.

  1. How many volunteers do you have?

Currently, Dayspring has around 25 volunteers who put in (on average) over 1,000 hours of volunteering in a year.

  1. What areas are available for volunteers to work in?

Volunteers are needed in the Therapeutic Riding program to serve as leaders or sidewalkers.  Leaders must have horse experience; their job is to be in control of the horse during a class session.  Sidewalkers assist the rider with balance and reinforce instructions during the lesson.

Volunteers are needed to help with barn management chores such as feeding, grooming, cleaning and oiling tack, cleaning water troughs, etc.  Anyone with special skills in maintenance, photography, graphic design, computer knowledge, etc. are needed as well.

  1. How do I get involved as a volunteer?

To become a volunteer, contact Sheryl Fogle at 903-923-5552 or 817-980-2535 and sign up for a general orientation session.

  1. How do I become a donor?

Contact Sheryl Fogle, Executive Director at 903-923-5552 or 817-980-2535 to learn how to become a donor.  The achievement of Dayspring’s program goals depends on the generosity of many people.  Your financial support is greatly appreciated.  There are many families living in Harrison County who have a child or an adult with a disability and are not able to pay for Dayspring’s services.   Scholarships are made available to those specific individuals.  Donations can be made through PayPal on Dayspring’s website:  www.dayspringtec.com and on its Facebook page:  Dayspring Therapeutic Equestrian Center of Harrison County, to help supply these needs.

  1. How does someone become a Therapeutic Riding instructor?

To become a Therapeutic Riding instructor, you must meet the requirements of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) Registered Level Certification Course.  For more information, visit their website at www.pathintl.org.

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