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LifeSpan transforms the lives of children and adults with developmental disabilities by providing education, employment, and enrichment opportunities that promote inclusion, choice, family supports, and other best practices.
To transform the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities through various equine assisted activities and therapies in a stimulating and nurturing environment with horses, volunteers, and staff at a professionally operated therapeutic equestrian center.
LifeSpan Farm - Therapeutic Riding Center is located in north Charlotte on 23 acres. We are a member of the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA). Our main program offering is therapeutic horseback riding for children and adults with developmental disabilities. On the farm we have seven horses, two pot-belly pigs, three goats, six rabbits, and a donkey. The goals of therapeutic horseback riding include the rider having the ability to increase muscle tone, improve motor planning coordination, build self confidence, learn skills in teamwork, and to have a special relationship between the rider and the horse. Therapeutic horseback riding is for individuals with a range of physical, emotional, cognitive, and special social needs. Depending on the ability level of the rider, he or she may have the opportunity to participate in the equestrian events at the North Carolina Special Olympics. Our program is making a difference in the lives of those served by offering therapeutic choices. In this setting therapy is viewed by the rider as play and pleasurable, rather than work and pain.
The program is also making a difference in the lives of the volunteers who have spent time learning about the program, maintaining the grounds, and seeing firsthand the difference a horse can make to a child or adult with disabilities. On average we have about 40 individual volunteers a month who provide support in our riding lessons and in other areas of our daily operation. As our program grows we will continue to need more volunteers.
While our center continues to grow, providing new and exciting opportunities in equine assisted activities and therapies to individuals with developmental disabilities in our community, we stay committed to providing a safe, respectable, compassionate, excellent and honest environment at our therapeutic equestrian center.
- July 2007 four riders from LifeSpan Farm - Therapeutic Riding Center represented Mecklenburg County at the Special Olympics Mid Summer Tournament taking home three 1 st place ribbons, one 2 nd place ribbon, two 3 rd place ribbons, and one 4 th and 5 th place ribbon.
- January 2008, through a generous donation from the Selders' Foundation we created and implemented our Need Based Riding Scholarship.
- July 2008 six riders from LifeSpan Farm - Therapeutic Riding Center represented Mecklenburg County at the Special Olympics Mid Summer Tournament taking home eight 1 st place ribbons, eight 2 nd place ribbons, and two 3 rd place ribbons. We also received two of the three overall awards. Our dedicated parents are to thank for one of the awards, best decorated stalls. They did a luau theme with palm trees on the poles, grass skirts on the doors, and other festive decor. Not to over shadow our riders accomplishments, but Dolly took home "The Horse of the Year" award.
- Jennifer Frey
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