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After volunteering for 5 years at a Dallas-area Equine Therapy center, Charles Fletcher founded SpiritHorse in 2002 offering one-on-one therapeutic riding, free of charge, to children and adults with disabilities. At this time, there were no specific industry methods that addressed such a wide range of diagnoses. Beyond the recreational riding provided by most centers, Mr. Fletcher’s primary concern was to develop a healthcare program "to assist individuals with special needs in reaching their full potential through interaction with horses."
The Disabilities Treatment Support and Expansion project is dedicated to the free service of our current riders and more applicants off our waiting list, children and some adults, diagnosed with disabilities. Over the past year, SpiritHorse served almost 400 individuals. With funding, we hope to do the same and continue to expand and develop over 2015. SpiritHorse’ current population represents around 150 different disabilities, including Autism Spectrum Disorder, Development Delays, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, Epilepsy, Traumatic Brain Injury, etc. SpiritHorse’ programs also serve those with histories of abuse, veteran status, and at-risk youth. We also support the economically disadvantaged by providing all services free of charge, and estimate that at least 65% of our families would otherwise be unable to afford therapy. It has been substantiated that treating a child with Autism costs families and insurers $70,000.00 a year, with other disabilities costing even more.
- Jennifer Mathis
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