Imagine a young girl confined to a wheelchair being lifted onto the back of a horse. For the first time in her life, she will know what it feels like to walk. Take a little boy, who had a stroke before he was born and has limited use of his right arm and leg. Watch him balance himself atop a chestnut mare. Could his hand be made strong enough, to hold the handlebars of a bicycle, or catch a ball, or clutch a crayon to draw a picture for his daddy? Or the teenage girl who is living in a group home due to no fault of her own discovers a friend in a horse.
Tara’s Chance is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to providing developmental therapeutic and recreational programs for disabled and disadvantaged at-risk children through horses.
Established in September of 2012, this exciting concept in equestrian therapy combines vaulting (gymnastics on a moving horse) and therapeutic riding resulting in exceptional goal orientated programs for special needs children. A place where therapy seems like play.
The goals and benefits are different for every child, depending on their individual needs. The movement of the horse causes an inherent response from the child, relaxing muscles that are tight, increasing tone in muscles that are weak, building balance, coordination and control, which in turn enables children to use hands and arms, sit, stand and walk.
For at-risk or troubled young people learning to safely and effectively work around a creature weighing in at 1000 pounds or more requires patience, trust, compassion, awareness, and self-confidence. Breaking down defense barriers, encouraging responsibility, promoting both teamwork and individual leadership a horse is a non-judgmental honest friend helping to build a strong set of tools in their journeys to more complete selves.
While we know that therapeutic riding is a potent form of physical and emotional therapy, the children see it as fun. These children, who are not invited to participate in soccer games or ballet performances, can, through equestrian therapy, be enabled not only to make extraordinary physical, cognitive, and emotional changes, but to participate and succeed in a real sport and take pride in performing for family and friends.
Tara's Chance was named for a wonderful horse that was happiest when she was working with kids. Just as the owner Cindy Howells believes that every kid is special, Tara made every child feel special. Tara had a unique sense of knowing what her young riders needed. She was gentle, kind, and would show such compassion to the young people that she worked with; you couldn't help but to love her. Tara sadly is no longer with us but her heart still beats at Tara's Chance. Please come and join us and share the love that Tara so generously shared.