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Just watching a physically or mentally challenged child participate in such a “normal” activity brings joy to both the participant and their parents or caregivers. Below are some quotes from Parents of HETRA Participants.

Quotes from Families

“Ella started HETRA at age three after being diagnosed with a rare disease that attacks joints and muscles. In addition to the physical benefits, we value how HETRA has helped increase her confidence, which is key for anyone battling a chronic disease. Staff and volunteers treat her like a member of their own family, making the HETRA team a vital part of our overall support system.” – Gail Graeve, parent of HETRA participant Ella Graeve

Gabby 4

“Sure the physical benefits were there. She retained her flexibility after tendon lengthening and improved her trunk strength, but that wasn’t the best part. Her self-esteem skyrocketed. She so looks forward to going riding with Lady or Twyla out at the barn. She’s been helped in so many ways by those two horses….She doesn’t know she’s there for therapy. She’s there to ride her horse for a little while. But I’m there for therapy also. I can’t help but experience some of the excitement and challenge that she’s feeling. Her riding on the back of a horse makes me so proud and excited that I can’t help feeling good. She spends her time on the back of a horse during her session, but you can bet that sometime during those 30 minutes, I’m back by the stalls working with a horse too!”

“We did our make up session on Saturday.  It went really well and his Dad got to come along… he was blown away by his progress!  Thanks so much for believing in  my son.  We believe he has made incredible progress because of you.  And he really enjoys riding!  Yippee…he gets it!!” – HETRA Parent

“HETRA has given our daughter not just an ability to ride, not just improved neurological functioning and balance; HETRA has given her dignity, respect, responsibility and pride.  Thank you so very, very much!” – HETRA Parent

“I think it is really important to remember that many of the children who come to ride, for whatever reasons,  never had an opportunity to do something in an inclusive environment  let alone do something simply because it’s “fun”. It’s also important to let them know that they are all doing a fantastic job. I’m a pretty good judge of character and the first thing about all of the  HETRA staff and volunteers was that  EVERYONE made eye contact with the riders. Eye contact is so simple to do, so important and unfortunately often overlooked. You would be surprised how many therapists and doctors we worked with in the past who never made eye contact with her.  Thanks again for a wonderful experience. We look forward to many, many more!” – HETRA Parent

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you did for Madi yesterday, All Madi has talked about since I completed her HETRA paperwork back in March was the horse show,,,, DAILY, Riding for those few minutes yesterday meant the world to her. When she completed the obstacle course and rode past the reviewing stand and received applause from the crowd, she said she was perplexed. Never before in her life had she been given  the opportunity in an inclusive environment to experience what she did yesterday. It was unfathomable for her that so many strangers were happy for her and proud of her. As we walked out of the arena, several spectators commented on how well she did or said “good job”. She beamed, holding up her trophy high in the air for everyone to see.” – HETRA Parent

Volunteer Quotes

“HETRA not only gives therapy to the participants, it also gives therapy to the volunteers. Volunteering at HETRA has been a blessing for me.  I am a type II diabetic. My numbers were out of control before I began volunteering. After six months, my numbers started coming down. With time, my doctor lowered some of my meds! I am always happy to volunteer because I know that I am helping others. I also know I am helping myself by being physically active.”

A volunteer stated “I have little motivation to walk on my treadmill at home, but I eagerly walk for two hours during my volunteer time at the barn and am very proud of my sweat-soaked clothes at the end of my volunteer session.”