Our horses have a mission!
At Step Up Into TLC our mission focuses on bringing smiles and fostering therapeutic relationships and healing, both emotionally and physically, to those who need us. Since we began our equine therapy in 1998, we have seen that increased self-confidence and enhanced social skills result from people’s interactions with our horses. Our program provides this opportunity to both children and adults, including those with special needs, at-risk youth, elderly and senior groups, and the terminally ill.
We are currently regularly visiting (see our Monthly Schedule): local hospitals, children’s in-patient units and rehabilitation clinics, children and adult group and residential homes, retirement communities, nursing homes, and in-patient units for the terminally ill. We also do special events for local schools, libraries, and churches.
Step Up into TLC is committed to providing the community with a safe and quality service. We take our saddled ponies to various facilities, where children are introduced to and educated about the ponies. They are encouraged to pet and touch the ponies, and offered a ride. Many children with special needs are working with a therapist, and this interaction with the ponies provides an opportunity for the child to gently exercise and increase movement to enhance circulation. Children who are able are encouraged to come to the outdoors to meet, pet, and ride the ponies. This is a special opportunity that provides a change of venue in the fresh air and sunshine! The staff members are also encouraged to participate.
Our service also provides horse-drawn cart rides for retirement communities and nursing homes. A ride in our three-seated cart often encourages the elderly to recall their long lost memories of when they were young and around horses. Residents are encouraged to pet the horses and socialize. With safety foremost in mind, trained volunteers are always assisting on site, along with the facility staff, as TLC provides a healing and memorable experience.
Our objective is to enrich the lives of those who are in need through healthy interactions with our ponies and horses. The power of these beautiful gentle animals is amazing! They offer unconditional love, just by being present and always totally willing. They offer no judgment, which says volumes, and provide a nurturing safe place for healing.
“They have the power to transport a lonely or weary heart back in time to recapture the feelings of vibrant life, to rekindle connection with a sacred source of being that may have languished under hardships. The old remember: I was somebody… I AM somebody. They offer friendly reprieve from the unknown and uncertain sterile environment facing young children in the hospital, and a connection to possibilities and new beginnings. For hospice patients the horses wrap and weave a precious memory thread of comfort into the tapestry of the final story, that makes it a little warmer for those left behind to wrap around their shoulders, and remember when.” by Susan Marshall, RN, for Step Up Into Therapeutic Loving Caballos (horses)