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Loving Thunder Therapeutic Riding, Inc.

Our  Special Needs Riders

Our special needs riders are a great bunch of people that love to be around the horses and ride with confidence.  The joy on their faces when they achieve their goals makes your heart jump for joy.  They are working on a variety of skills including gross motor, fine motor, balance, self confidence, and accomplishment.  Our riders come with a variety of challenges including Autism, Down syndrome, developmental delays, spinal disease and injury, traumatic brain injury, and many more. 

Our goal is to support their existing skills and to grow the needed skills so they can become "equestrian extraordinaire".  We challenge them to be as independent as they can while offering support and encouragement along the way.  It is expected that each rider will eventually become an independent rider.  Our riders are required to participate in the grooming and saddling process as well, because after all, that is part of the process.  You ride, you have to groom, and do the hard work too.  Some of our riders even participate in barn chores.



You did an outstanding job!  Seeing her ride made me very few aspects of her life does C**** feel "adequate" when it comes to physical abilities.  She has SO much confidence and thoroughly enjoys her Saturdays at your barn.  We've seen many good things come out of the lessons for her, and she's just barely stared.  After meeting you and watching you interact with the riders and horses, it's very plain to see that this is where your heart is.  I'm grateful for your dedication and time to add something to the lives of these precious riders.  Thank you for organizing the horse show and looking forward to next year.


I watch my smiling daughter's confidence and skill as she readies June Bug for their Saturday riding session.  June Bug is one of several horses in the Loving Thunder Therapeutic Riding Program where Sarah has been a participant for over a year.  Under the direction of Twuana Raupp, Sarah, who has Down syndrome, guides her horse with the assistance of trained volunteer staff through weekly activities that are cognitively and physically beneficial.  Her balance, trunk stability, strength and physical endurance have been enhanced through the unique relationship of  the rider and  the horse.  Her language skills have improved especially in the area of auditory processing, specifically in her ability to attend to, recall and respond to the auditory input.  I've also seen improvements in her emotional wellbeing and social interaction.  Over the year that she has been participating in the program I been surprised and so pleased at her progress.  I've seen firsthand the many benefits that a therapeutic riding program can have for individuals with physical and cognitive challenges.


My daughter came to ride with Loving Thunder after having participated in a Hippotherapy program.  She is growing her skills and is finally learning about horse care and preparation.  This bonding with the horse has meant more than all the other horse activities before.  She loves all the horses here, but especially loves Mo, her favorite horse.  He responds to her requests with very little assistance from the leader and gives her even more confidence and self-esteem.  She asks to go see Mo even during the week and really misses it when we are on breaks.  She loves riding at Loving Thunder.