STORIES

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Nick, Veterans Horsemanship Program

"My Name is Nick, I recently retired from the Military after 20 years of service and three tours to Iraq and Afghanistan. Transitioning from Military to Civilian life has proved to be extremely difficult for me and my family. I was informed about Bison Strides through my local Vet Center. I am so thankful for the individuals that led me to Bison Strides. The staff there has helped my adjustment exponentially and the horses help me work through problems, understanding how I can relate my thought processes to the horses. The horse doesn’t know you or the things you’ve experienced and there is not one bit of judgement from that horse. There is so much to discover in the process and how a horse can help Veterans that have experienced trauma. I hope to be an advocate for the program and look forward to spreading the word on what Bison Strides has done for me and how great it is to work with a horse."

Shanda, Adapted Horsemanship Participant

“Shanda is 17 years old and has Down syndrome. Riding has given my daughter more core strength, confidence, and the ability to multi-task while steering her horse. In the past she sometimes needed reminders to be more gentle with her reins. This taught her to follow directions, helped with her motor planning and understanding how the horse senses the rider’s actions and moods so they can learn to respect one another. These educational experiences help her in everyday life situations both in school and at home. We are so thankful NDSU is able to provide this program!”

MeKenna, Adapted Horsemanship Participant

“When MeKenna walks into the barn, you can hear her screech from the other end of the arena with excitement to ride! Over the past 10 years, riding has helped MeKenna understand respect, gain patience, and improve her balance. When she rides, she is in control and has mastered steering her horse – it is amazing to see. After riding we notice that McKenna is less agitated and more cooperative. Riding provides her with a great deal of pride and enjoyment, knowing this is just for her. We would like to express our sincerest gratitude for this program.”

Physical and Occupational Therapy

A boisterous “walk on Pepper!” from the arena brought one mom to tears – her son typically spoke in a very quiet, shy voice but the confidence he gained from his time with Pepper made a tremendous difference in his approach to the world.

A parent reported that for the first time in his life her son was able to keep his body and emotions under control for 6 hours after just one 30 minute hippotherapy session.

"On the days our son rides, we see a noticeable improvement in his walking."

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Terry, Volunteer 

"I feel a great sense of satisfaction in contributing my time, as well as enjoying the camaraderie of fellow volunteers and staff. I believe that giving a few hours every week helping someone who needs a boost through volunteering will hopefully create a ripple-affect. I also believe that what I am doing will make a difference with the person I’m helping and I really enjoy taking in all their smiles."