Equine Dreams is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization that provides Therapeutic Equine Assisted Activities to children and adults with special needs. Our faith enables us to nurture abilities in individuals with special needs. Originally founded in 1996 by a special needs parent, Equine Dreams evolved from a pilot program to becoming a Premier Accredited Center by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH, Intl,). Equine Dreams is unique because they deliver services free of charge to the individuals they serve. Their vision is for all children and adults living with special needs to have a place to experience life-long learning in order to foster independence, regardless of ability and income. They are dedicated to improving independence and quality of life for children and adults with special needs.
Therapeutic Riding uses Equine Assisted Activities for the purpose of contributing positively to the physical, cognitive, emotional and social well-being of individuals with disabilities. Riding participants who come to Equine Dreams interact and learn from one another in a natural environment that is different from the traditional rehabilitative setting.
Therapeutic benefits are experienced both on and off the horse. For riding participants, evidence based therapy techniques create a three dimensional experience. Movement of the horse mimics the experience of ambulation. Through the multi- dimensional experience, the rider learns functional tasks for weight shifting, balance, and equilibrium. Collectively, new skills serve as building blocks for learning to walk.
Equine Dreams provides therapeutic services to over 100 riding participants per week at its Newark site, and has expanded services to those who reside in group homes, acute care hospitals, and long-term care facilities. Equine Dreams brings services to facilities, and between the dates of January 1, 2015 and December 14, 2015, had delivered miniature horse program bedside therapy sessions to 1,664 children and adults.
In addition, the Anna Danielson Memorial Trail and St. Andre Bessette Sensory Path was recently opened in 2014. It allows participants to engage in physical activity that uses muscle strength, requires balance, and promotes flexibility in a fun way. Riding a horse on a sensory trail provides 3 dimensional movement, as well as sensory stimulation.
Equine Dreams is proud of its robust team of PATH certified therapeutic riding instructors. Professional backgrounds of the volunteers include physical therapy, occupational therapy, audiology, mental health, accounting, risk management, public health, and more.
Equine Dreams is also a PATH, Intl. Higher Education Member. Equine Dreams is recognized as one of six internationally recognized centers for higher education. They have programmed a PATH, Intl. Instructor Certification Program through Waubonsee Community College which ends in certification. Equine Dreams believes strongly in the education of our future instructors that will teach at our program and neighboring programs.
For a parent, child or adult living with a disability, the risk of feeling isolated can be an unfortunate reality. There is limited access to services, particularly services free of charge. Equine Dreams provides an opportunity for participants and families to benefit from equine assisted activities and make new connections in in the community. Equine Dreams operates entirely on funds generated by public donation, foundation grants, fundraising, and in-kind donations. They offer their services free of charge so that anyone, regardless of their financial situation benefit from equine assisted activities. The demand is great and the benefits are remarkable.