North Texas Giving Day 2022: Equest

Editor’s note: In light of North Texas Giving Day, we asked for “elevator pitches” from some of our local nonprofits participating in the big day for our special Giving People section in our September print issues.

Since 1981, Equest has changed lives for the better through the human-horse connection. Equest offers programs in physical and occupational therapy, therapeutic riding, carriage driving, equine assisted learning, and equine facilitated counseling and has multiple volunteer opportunities. Located in the heart of the Trinity Forest, our programs take place in two covered arenas with access to trails used for rides through the beautiful trees.

Building skills in therapeutic riding increases confidence, social skills, trust, empathy, and emotional regulation. Horses are also excellent for occupational, speech and physical therapy, so riders with physical disabilities often show improvement in flexibility, balance, muscle strength, circulation and breathing. Equest also provides carriage driving for those who can’t mount a horse, and opportunities to compete at special needs horse shows. Competition opportunities help clients gain confidence, learn to win and lose graciously, and learn to be part of a team effort.

Parents are sometimes told that their child will likely never walk or speak. Our work at Equest will often prove them wrong. We have seen countless clients take their first steps and speak first words at Equest.

“Equest is an amazing resource,” said Julia, the mother of a client. “My daughter feels so loved, safe, and special when she’s there. It’s an experience she really looks forward to every week. Her therapists provide opportunities that are fun, and she has no idea how hard she’s working. We are so blessed to have found Equest.”

Equine facilitated counseling has many physical and emotional benefits. Numerous studies have shown that equine therapy helps with anger, anxiety, depression, PTS, and other emotional problems. Our counseling program is growing fast, not only for veterans, but also civilian clients. The program is proving to be very effective. It works whether one is riding, or simply feeding and grooming. Horses are relationship-oriented and intuitively sense and honestly respond to the emotions of those around them, which makes the human-horse bond a powerful healing mechanism.

Equest’s overall goal is to increase the quality of life for every client. Our organization is forever grateful to the Communities Foundation of North Texas and all those who donate through North Texas Giving Day. Please support the care of Equest’s 30 amazing therapy horses and help us continue to change lives. Learn more at www.equest.org or contact Christine Volkmer, director of community engagement, at [email protected] to arrange for a tour or volunteer opportunity.

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