Parents Talk

Horse Therapy Rider

I just wanted to thank everyone for all their hard work making SMART such a great place. Matthew loves coming to his lessons & it is unbelievable the change in him the last two years. He is stronger, more confident and has an extra spring in his step when walking to the barn to take care of “his” horse. I am so grateful that he has been able to ride at SMART!

Leana Blackman

When we first learned of SMART, I initially envisioned the program as a fun recreation from my daughter, Kennedy. I was so wrong. While Kennedy does have a lot of fun, I quickly learned to my great surprise that the emphasis at SMART is not on riding. The emphasis is on therapy. SMART has helped Kennedy to grasp important intellectual concepts like following directions, sequencing, and identifying and classifying objects. It provides physical therapy regarding balance, strength, gross and fine motor skills, spatial relationships and personal safety. Caring for her horse and riding equipment has taught her personal responsibility, and interacting with adults and other riders enhances her social skills. Finally, the program makes her feel a special sense of accomplishment that she would find nowhere else. The work that SMART is doing not only benefits individual families, it benefits our community as a whole. We are truly grateful to have this amazing program in our community.

Kerri Martin
Kennedy and Jessica
Horse Therapy Rider

My son, Scot, has been a S.M.A.R.T. Rider for 11 years and I can't say enough about how much he has grown and benefitted from this program! Not only has he gained increased muscle tone throughout his trunk and back but the vestibular input Scotty receives from being on the horse has increased his aptitude for receptive and expressive language. Being diagnosed with Recessive Autism at 2 1/2, Scotty has struggled tremendously with his communication skills.

Not only is Scotty challenged throughout each lesson, he is treated with such respect and care from the wonderful volunteers with this organization. He has learned how to care for the horses and show them love and appreciation which greatly benefits him and increases his level of self confidence.

The Instructors and Volunteers tirelessly strive to improve the lives of their special riders and their families! We are so incredibly fortunate to benefit from this unique and meaningful program.

Lora Carpenter

My two boys have grown so much from their experience at SMART. I cannot say enough about how wonderful the staff is. They are kind and caring. My boys love to go to their horseback riding therapy lessons!

Edith McDonald
SMART Rider in Bradenton Florida Horse Therapy Rider
Wy boys

The SMART program has been helpful to the boys in so many ways - communication, motor, social skills and more.  In filling out the renewal applications, it was remarkable for me to reflect on how far they have come from where they started.  They are so proud of themselves and what they have learned (they are still talking about the horse show!). They have more confidence and have developed such a wonderful bond with their instructor.

Julie Wyrembelski

We want to thank all of the SMART Staff and Volunteers for your hard work and amazing dedication to SMART. We want you to know we appreciate your kind and patient ways. Matthew thoroughly enjoys his time spent at SMART. Saturday is his favorite day of the week because he knows he gets to ride his horse and see his friends at the farm! You continue to make a difference in the lives of your riders, bringing them and their families hope and happiness. We know you see the joy horse riding therapy brings to Matthew and the other riders, and it is our hope this is the only motivation you need to continue providing such a wonderful form of therapy. Thank you for all that you do!

Sharon & Mat Weber and Matthew
Jade and family
Things are going so well. It warms my heart so see Jade showing so much emotion. Thanks so much!!!!!!! I hope everyone at SMART knows how special they are and how they change our lives!!!!

Andrea and Dominic Trahan
When my daughter, Mallory, started at SMART she was bent over in her wheelchair with poor eye contact, soft spoken and her “canned” answer was “I don’t care.” Now, she sits up straight, speaks louder instead of mumbling, looks people in the face. All I can say is, you should see her now. It’s magic!

Deborah Greenleaf