Participant Stories

The "Miracle" of Therapeutic Riding and related equine assisted activities is that it is so effective for people with a wide range of disabilities.

Adam counts the days until his Tuesday riding lesson. Adam has Reactive Attachment disorder, Sensory Integration issues, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, lacks impulse control, and has superior intelligence. While he thought nothing of maiming or killing a small animal prior to riding at Giant Steps, he has developed a love and respect for animals both large and small. He also had a history of withdrawing into his own private world. Adam's weekly riding sessions has strengthened his ability to connect with others. He has also learned to listen and to follow the instructor, as well as cooperate with other riders in weekly exercises. Read more about Adam »

Bridget learned how to vault and has been helping to teach other riders how to do it. Bridget was born with a brain lesion that has resulted in severe cognitive, developmental and physical delays. While riding Giant Steps' horse, "Scarlet," Bridget's stature works on strengthening exercises that have markedly improved. While she typically had great difficulties socializing in school, the intimate environment at the arena enabled her to open up and make her very first friend! Read more about Bridget »

Michelle had been transferred to several foster homes before the age of four, and had to deal with instability and abuse. She still struggles with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and reactive attachment disorder. The riding program, including grooming and caring for "Katydid", has provided Michelle with the structure she needs to flourish. She now can follow instructions and listen more attentively. As a result, she is now doing better in school and is more grounded. Read more about Michelle »

Jeremy is challenged with cerebral palsy, ADHD, sensory integration disorder, and more. Jeremy began riding at Giant Steps just 14 months ago, Jeremy's mother reports marked improvement in his mobility, listening skills and ability to multi-task. These are great accomplishments for the six-year old, who is challenged with cerebral palsy, ADHD, sensory integration disorder and motor planning issues. Read more about Jeremy »

Riders learn to interact and care for their animal therapists. Stephanie was diagnosed with a severe mental illness at age 15. She suddenly lost many of her friends and began performing poorly in school. The grooming, riding and exercising she does during the weekly Giant Steps has brought back a smile to her face. The skills she is developing at the arena is slowly helping her create a new life for herself. Read more about this story »

Emily had severe depression and anxiety that led her to contemplate suicide. Despite a longtime fear of animals, she agreed to ride one of the "gentle giants" at Giant Steps. This experience helped her develop a newfound self-confidence to overcome her fears. Her grades have improved, and she has started to make new friends as well. Read more about this story »