Student: Alyssa started out riding Strawberry and then helped us introduce Shiloh into the organization a few years ago, as she was one of the first people to ride Shiloh. For a long time, Alyssa had some trouble sleeping and was staying awake for long periods of time. After each of her sessions when she first started riding, she would fall asleep as soon as she was in the car. Many times, her mom would drive around for a while just so Alyssa would sleep longer.
Alyssa has gained more endurance and sits up with minimal assistance on the horse. With some changes in her life and riding, she sleeps at night and comes to horses ready to ride!
Student: William started riding with Silver Lining Riding in individual lessons but has since moved into group riding sessions, and he has grown significantly since starting with us.
He is one of the first students who learned to canter, and he was very excited to participate in his first horse show at our 5-Year Anniversary Celebration. He has ridden in several Showcase horse shows since then. William has also attended both summer camp and winter camp
Student: Pablo starting riding with Silver Lining Riding in 2012. With every year, Pablo became more and more independent on the horse. He started out riding Tuff, then graduated to Strawberry. When he first started on Tuff, Pablo was on a leadline the whole lesson with a helper controlling the horse. Now Pablo can ride off leadline and can even trot. He also completely grooms and tacks his horse with little or no help.
Once Pablo turned 8, he joined our Special Olympics Team and has participated in several of our horse shows.
Student: Brittney has ridden with Silver Lining Riding for several years. She has competed on the Special Olympics Team and ridden most of our horses. She is a wonderful rider and has provided an example many times, showing other riders what to do.
Even though Brittney has ridden for many years, she still continues to improve on the control of her horse, remembering patterns, and winning ribbons. It is so much fun to watch Brittney remember a pattern after only practicing a handful of times. Way to Go Brittany!
Student: Evelyn started riding with us several years ago and loves it. Every time she gets on the horse, she has a big smile on her face, which is very contagious.
Since starting with Silver Lining Riding, she has been sitting up more on her horse and not leaning into her helpers as much. Her mom also said that she has been sitting on the floor at home for brief periods without assistance! This is very exciting news and we are so proud of her.
Student: Lydia was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 2. Upon moving to Arizona, we had heard of therapeutic horseback riding. Lydia began at Silver Lining Riding in September 2014. On her very first day, she got on a horse named Strawberry. She had a little trouble with getting on, which left a negative impression with her. She was very nervous for the next 7 weeks and wouldn’t get on. However, the wonderful staff members never gave up on Lydia. Each week they approached her with gentle persuasion. Finally, on week 9, Lydia got on and rode!!! This was an exciting day for us and her. She has been riding every week since. We are so proud of Lydia that she has a pastime that she can call her own and is making so many beneficial gains because of it!
Lydia has made great progress in her riding. She can pull back to stop her horse, is learning to steer, and knows how to make her horse “go” without any help. Since starting, Lydia has ridden several different horses and started trotting. Her confidence has grown significantly.
Volunteer: The reason I got involved with Silver Lining Riding was purely a selfish one. I needed to lose weight and walking (or running) next to a horse all day might give me a bit of exercise. The first day I was assigned to two kids as a side-walker. After the two 1-hour sessions of walking beside the horses, everyone was asking how I was doing. I said, “No Problem” but I couldn’t breathe, I hurt, I was a disaster. But I came back the next week for more.
Remember the kids I was assigned to? Somehow these two boys and I formed some kind of bond. One is non-verbal and the other recites a constant string of TV commercials. But somehow, they got firmly ensconced in my heart. I so enjoyed working with them. And the reward for me is not the weight loss, it is the breakthroughs that the boys and I had almost weekly!
The boy who only recites what he hears on TV learned to say, “Go Shiloh”, or “Turn Shiloh”, or even “Whoa Shiloh”. Sounds like something small right? Nope. It gives his parents a common ground from which to start communicating. It gives him the ability to use his words to control his environment.
What would have happened if I had not started volunteering? This kid might not have found someone he could bond and work with to overcome some of his obstacles in life. Ultimately, we were helping each other and having fun doing it.
Working as a lesson volunteer inspired me to become a member of Silver Lining Riding’s Board of Directors, and I have served on the Board and several committees ever since!
Volunteer: Horses have been my lifelong love. I have been with Silver Lining Riding ever since its beginning in 2010, and as an inaugural Board member I helped develop the program with our founder. I knew the first students, volunteers, and horses, and it was so exciting when we became a nonprofit in 2011! As an Equine Pit Crew volunteer, I take the training every year so I can help with horse leading and side-walking activities during lessons.
To be honest I joined Silver Lining Riding because of the horses. I had no prior experience with folks with special needs. But after my first lesson I was hooked. The joy of helping someone experience freedom on horseback is indescribable.
I am so fortunate to be surrounded by talented instructors, passionate volunteers, inspiring students, kind horses, and a dedicated Board. Silver Lining Riding is a huge part of my life!
Volunteer: Megan volunteered steadily for us for many years. She has been a wonderful help and was always willing to work extra days in any area where we needed help.
Since moving out of state, Megan continues to come back to Silver Lining Riding to volunteer at our annual Showcase horse show. Legally deaf, she understands what it’s like to have life challenges, and she works well with all our students – and they love her!