Testimonials from our Participants, Families & Volunteers
FREE is making a difference in the lives of participants and their families
2021 was the first year veterans were involved in FREE. Participants were asked to score themselves on three factors before and after class: self-awareness, building coping skills and building community connections. Using a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best and 1 the worst, the mean reported score increased from 3.0 to 4.5 over just one eight-week session.
“After a stressful morning with depression and anxiety, interaction with the horse was a salve that made me completely forget my sour mood and made facing the day much more palatable.”
“The thing about animals is that the affection is genuine.”
FREE expanded its programming in 2021 to include at-risk youth. Surveys conducted pre-program and post-program showed that 60% of respondents saw an improvement in family interactions upon conclusion of their participation in the program.
Comments from parents/care givers included:
“Calms down quicker after blowups.”
“Enjoys it and something to look forward to every week.”
“Increase in confidence and self belief.”
Individuals with Special Needs
FREE has been providing adaptive horsemanship classes for individuals with special needs for 40 years. Here are just a few comments from the riders and/or their parents:
“FREE is Skylar’s ‘happy place.’ It’s our ‘happy place’ as well as we watch Skylar improving her core strength, balance and listening skills while having fun. She loves interacting with FREE’s instructors, volunteers and other riders. Thank you, FREE, for providing such an awesome place for people of all ages with special needs.”— Holly H., parent of Skylar who has been riding with FREE for 10 years
“FREE staff and handlers are very kind, professional and knowledgeable. The horses were well selected for a group as completely inexperienced as me. The horses clearly knew what I was supposed to be doing and they were patient! I would give FREE a 10 out of 10!”— Justin Abramson, rider
“My client (MU) has been riding with FREE’s program for nearly 10 years. She loves the horses and has made many friends of the volunteer staffing who maintain her safety while enjoying the rides. I firmly believe her core strength has developed through riding and is essential for the balance challenges she endures on foot. Currently Mandy Culver, lovingly and with humor, instructs MU for many directives and has been open to suggestions for MU’s improvement taking advantage of the consistent repetition during her sessions. MU’s team of helpers are so
kind and responsive to MU’s needs and her family, and I am greatly appreciative. Super experience for therapeutic needs!!!”— Lori G.