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Circle of Hope

Provide equine assisted activities and therapies for individuals with physical, mental, emotional and developmental disabilities.

AREA - Maryland

AGE RANGE - 14 and above

What is Circle of Hope?

Circle of Hope Therapeutic Riding is an organization dedicated to encouraging the physical and mental development of children and adults with developmental, psychological, or physical disabilities. Circle of Hope's equine assisted approach incorporates cognitive, behavioral, psychological, and physical goals to increase self-confidence, self-esteem, physical independence, and social awareness.

Therapeutic riding was first introduced in the United States in the late 1960s. The approach uses instruction in horseback riding and horsemanship skills to assist children and adults with developmental, psychological, or physical disabilities. Research shows that participants can experience physical, emotional, and mental rewards. Participants with physical disabilities often show improvement in flexibility, balance, and muscle strength. The unique relationship formed between the participant and the horse can also lead to increased confidence, patience, and self-esteem in individuals with mental, emotional, or developmental disabilities.

Therapeutic riding at Circle of Hope is offered to children and adults with disabilities that include, but are not limited to: cerebral palsy, spina bifida, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, head trauma, autism, emotional disturbance, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, hypotonia, developmental delays, hearing impairments, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and visual impairments.

How do I volunteer?

There are three ways to volunteer at Circle of Hope.

1. Therapeutic-riding related volunteering: Volunteers who are 14 and older and comfortable with horses can help with therapeutic riding sessions. This may include such activities as: grooming and preparing therapy horses for riding sessions, assisting with the preparation of a therapy session such as setting up games, obstacle courses, assisting the participant before the session by helping with their helmet and walking to the mounting area, being a side aide or horse leader during a riding session, and assisting with maintenance of equipment such as cleaning bridles, saddles and adaptive equipment. These volunteers must attend a training before they begin volunteering.

2. Set up volunteering: Volunteers who do not wish to receive training to volunteer directly in therapeutic riding can still volunteer by grooming horses, preparing horses and the arena for sessions, working with staff, assisting participants during their therapy sessions (under the guidance of the instructor), leading the horse during the session, safeguarding the participant during a session, and caring for equipment.

3. Public relations: Volunteers who do not wish to work directly with horses can still help with public relations, including: grant writing, marketing, special events, fund raising, volunteer recruitment, corporate sponsorship, photography, and social media.

Information for all these types of volunteering can be found here and volunteer paperwork is here.

Feel free to share extra information and personal experiences in the comments below, or head over to the forum!


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