“How do you put into words the impossible miracle
of seeing, for the first time, your child walk?
What our son has gained at Giant Steps has
changed both our lives, and his, forever.”

– Giant Steps parent

 Success Stories

Megan’s Story

This is the story of a very determined young girl, Megan, and her journey to becoming the young girl her family had hoped for as she deals with her autism with the strength given by her love for horses at Giant Steps…

Heroes on Horses

Veterans living with post traumatic stress disorder ride at Giant Steps in our Heroes on Horses Program. Watch their story here…

Andrew’s Story

“My son Andrew is 20 and has been riding at Giant steps for 15 years now. That fact alone attests to our belief in the therapeutic value of riding to our son’s overall health and well-being. The benefits to Andrew are numerous.

Andrew’s diagnosis affects his physical ability to walk. He is highly social and loves being active, and is in his wheelchair for long hours. Riding on the back of a warm horse stretches those tight muscles like no human therapist can. I know this has limited a lot of pain that can occur with someone who is wheelchair bound.

Riding on the back of a horse gives Andrew an opportunity to develop and maintain head, neck, and trunk control. I believe this is why Andrew has been able to develop speech habits that, despite his dysarthria, enable him to communicate effectively most of the time.

Learning to ride and direct a horse isn’t something that just anyone can do, and Andrew’s self-confidence grows as he learns new skills during his sessions. His charisma shines as he interacts with his instructors and the volunteer staff who assist in his lessons!”

Lilly

Lilly and Katydid had a special bond, and Lilly is an incredible, determined individual. Being a double amputee doesn’t stop her from swimming, rock climbing, and horseback riding!

A Letter from one of our rider's parents

Dear Giant Steps,

I would like to tell you about some of the profound ways Michelle’s life has changed since riding at Giant Steps. Michelle used to disturb things, and tear things apart. She had great difficulties with impulse control. Riding at Giant Steps has helped her learn to develop a loving and caring relationship with animals. In addition, she now feels as if she’s part of something larger. Giant Steps has given new meaning to her life.

Michelle’s early path in life was a rocky one. Having been transferred to several foster homes before the age of four, Michelle had to deal with instability and abuse most of us can hardly imagine. My husband and I adopted her when she was four and have worked hard to create the tranquility and consistency she had missed during those formative years. She still struggles with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and reactive attachment disorder. She has some struggles in her academic life as well. Since kindergarten we have worked to improve her relationships with other students and her teachers.

We first decided to bring the Michelle to Giant Steps in the hopes that the riding program would help provide her with the additional structure that she so longed for after the chaotic nature of her early life. During the weekly classes, Michelle has enjoyed grooming and caring for Giant Steps horse Katydid, warming up in the ring, and sitting in a certain prescribed positions, as well as learning new horsemanship skills. The class structure has been an ideal environment in which to focus on instructions. While on the horse, I am amazed at how Michelle can listen and follow directions with ease! She feels a sense of responsibility caring for and guiding a 1200 pound animal that inspires her in a way that cannot be duplicated in everyday life. When on the horse, she has a single-mindedness. She’s finding her center, and is more grounded.

After riding at Giant Steps, Michelle recently began volunteering at a local wildlife rescue, where she tends pigeons, owls, hawks, foxes, squirrels, skunks and coyotes. We’ve enjoyed watching her discover her great gifts with animals both big and small. She recently received the best report card of her school career with three “A’s”, five “B’s”, and “O’s” for Outstanding in the categories “shows respect for rules” and “listens attentively”! We couldn’t be more thrilled to see our wonderful daughter begin to blossom into her true self.

Thanks to the instructors and volunteers who have done an extraordinary job working with Michelle and pushing her to reach new goals week after week. We are delighted with her progress!

Sincerely,

Michelle’s Parents

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