Grace Lake Ministries Copyright © 2016 All Rights Reserved 9611 FM 1827 - Anna, TX 75409 972-837-4621
Our son began riding at Grace Lake in the Spring of 2008. He has developmental delays, is non-verbal and had not been around horses in 4 years so I was concerned about how well he would do. His instructor gently re-introduced him to riding and has tailored each session to not only fit his needs but to make it interesting for him by incorporating special activities that he enjoys. After the first couple of visits, my son was regularly signing "horse" and looking very forward to our visit each week. He now holds his reigns, signs "whoa" and "walk on", stands in the stirrups, brushes his horse and more. Thanks to the wonderful staff at Grace Lake, we are seeing my son do things we never knew were possible! We have truly been blessed by Grace Lake Ministries.
When I grow up I want to be a horse trainer or something to do with horses. I have always wanted to ride but never had the opportunity. When we came to Grace Lake, they let my mom and me ride together after my brother had his private lesson. I have now ridden four horses: Grace, Pete, Dan and Angel. My brother has special needs and is in a wheel chair. Riding help him in a lot of ways. I am glad my mom and I get to ride together; it is fun to do this with my mom. I've wanted to learn how to ride and take care of horses since I was a young child. Grace Lake has given me that opportunity. I couldn't ask for better staff and volunteers; they are very knowledgeable, loving and patient.
Horseback riding for therapy is very beneficial for someone like me, or anyone who has a disability. I, myself, have rheumatoid arthritis and cerebral palsy, where cerebral palsy causes my muscles to become very tight 24/7; like a stretched rubber band. I was born at 26 week gestation, weight 1 pound 10 ounces. The benefit of therapeutic riding includes the way the horse moves which mimics a human's gait. Horses either have a side to side gait or a forward and back gait; the former allowing for an increased stretch n the muscles on the inside of the thigh, and the latter allowing for increased trunk strength. In my years of riding horses, since I was 3 years old, I've become aware of sense of balance and have also found an increase in my trunk strength and overall balance. Horses are actually mentally beneficial as well, as they teach the rider to become more patient and calm. In the Grace Lake program, the Instructors teach the rider to develop a relationship with the horse that includes not necessarily getting the horse to do what that riders wants by using physical force, but rather by sense of touch and subtle body movements, such as a slight heel press into the side of the horse to get the horse to turn left or right. Grace Lake isn't just a place to go to ride a horse, but a place to find hope, healing and peace. Whether a person has a disability like me or just needs a place to help find themselves. Grace Lake is a place that could possibly help those individuals.
I love spending time with animals and getting outside. Horseback riding is a great stress reliever for me. Riding has helped me recall and learn new relaxation techniques which is a great help in my approach to stressful situations with my son. I groom and ride with my daughter so we can get some extra one on one time together, which is very special. It's wonderful that I can renew my soul and fulfill a lifelong dream of my own while spending time with my children!
My son is enjoying horseback riding more as time goes on and is realizing many other benefits as well. He has improved sensory integration, strength, flexibility and muscle control We credit a combination of physical therapy and horseback riding for his most recent accomplishments: tall kneeling, pulling to stand and walking short distances with a Kaye walker. My son seems to have increased knowledge of his surroundings. He's becoming more independent and wanting to do what others around him are doing. Horseback riding allows him to have a sense of normality and freedom. A great big "thank you" goes out to the staff and volunteers at Grace Lake for their tremendous patience and desire to understand my son in order to better help him succeed.