GEORGIAN RIDING ASSOCIATION FOR CHALLENGED EQUESTRIANS (G.R.A.C.E.)
Georgian Riding Association for Challenged Equestrians
G.R.A.C.E. is a registered charity organization that provides therapeutic horseback riding lessons for challenged children and adults in Grey and Bruce counties.
These challenges may include motor dysfunction, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, Down syndrome, spina bifida, developmental delay, autism, sensory impairments, etc. Under the supervision of certified instructors, therapists and with the large base of volunteers, G.R.A.C.E. offers a program where participants may benefit physically, socially and psychologically through interaction with the horse.
G.R.A.C.E. offers Spring, Summer and Fall Programs. Classes are conducted by certified CanTRA instructors with many volunteer helpers supplying assistance as needed for the horses and riders.
G.R.A.C.E. operates under the governing body of the Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association (CanTRA).
It has always been a goal of mine to raise my children with morals and values. I wanted them to be good people who use their skills to help others and to make a difference in their community. My theory being if I was going to raise people I was going to do it right.
Our family already a horse family and with me having 30 years horse experience behind me, my children being raised “on the back of a horse” it made sense that when they became old enough they would volunteer with GRACE.
A firm believer in setting an example, I offered my time with them and seven years ago mother daughter time included helping with lessons one night a week.
Two years later my son reached an age he too could join in and before long my husband was thrown into the mix.
We developed relationships with the riders, the other volunteers and the instructors which became inspiring, uplifting and changed our lives. Those couple hours each week opened our eyes to the differences GRACE made in our community and for these children that really needed it.
We saw children who could not walk giggle trotting on a horse, who had never moved so fast. We saw children who could not speak use their body with joy to communicate to ask a horse to do what they needed. We saw children who had really bad days, who often arrived in tears an in sour moods leave with smiles on their faces.
My family became involved with GRACE so that we could make a difference and what happened was a difference was made in our lives.
We learned our life struggles were nothing compared to what so many children were dealing with.
We learned that a small act of kindness could make a huge difference in someone’s life and we learned in doing so it came back ten fold. We are reminded weekly of the joy and happiness a connection with a horse can bring and that feeling connected changes everything.