Golden Dreams Therapeutic Riding Center

Rider Stories


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Sophie. If you are like me, I am constantly researching to gain clarity around my child’s diagnosis, My husband calls Sophie our “new normal,” which I find endearing, but it is also a solid statement of how unprepared we were for her special needs. It has been a rich learning experience. In the process, we found a remarkable program that has become such a game changer for Sophie, I feel compelled to share it with all of you.

So many blessings have come from Sophie’s Equine Therapy out at Golden Dreams. Initially, I looked at it as a good opportunity for fresh air and maybe she would connect with other children “like her”. What I did not expect was the change it would bring about in her. Sophie is generally three feet of wound-up anxiety, but at Golden Dreams she is at peace. She is soothed by their gentle horses and, amazingly, completely undaunted by their size. With baby steps and utter patience, Golden Dreams’ Therapists/Trainers have introduced Sophie to the care of horses, the joy of relating to them, riding them and being safe around them, as they lead her caringly with one side walker on each side of the horse on peaceful walks. Among the positive benefits, Sophie has grown more confident and compassionate. And, she is so focused and engaged when we are there, you would never know how challenged she is. I really cannot say enough in praise of this program.

So if you are seeking an innovative means of helping your child in a way that will last a lifetime, please checkout Golden Dreams Therapeutic Riding.

— Joanna Gibbons

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Tey. Golden Dreams Therapeutic Riding program has been and continues to be a wonderful experience for our family, especially for our 15-year-old daughter, Teylor. Our beautiful daughter was born with a seizure disorder, autism and a visual impairment, so day-to-day activities for her, require assistance. Since starting at Golden Dreams in the summer of 2007, Teylor has gained a greater sense of confidence in just about everything she does. She is more likely to try something 'new,’ and transitioning from one activity to another has become almost routine (for persons with ASD's, this is a very big deal!)

The staff at Golden Dreams is able to develop riding plans that are specific for the needs of each individual rider, and Teylor holds her head high, back straight and commands the horse when she gets in the saddle! These traits are carried out at home, school and her community.”

— Linda Reid


Kate. I taught, evented and trained horses as a hobby until 1990 when I found out I had multiple sclerosis. My riding became pleasure riding. As my balance got worse, I moved my horse to a friend out of state as taking care of him was now a liability and I stopped riding. Following some intense physical therapy for gait and balance issues during 2006 and 2007, it occurred to me that many of the exercises could also be accomplished on horseback so I started searching.

I found a brochure for Golden Dreams Therapeutic Riding in a tack store in Middleburg and the search began. Golden Dreams was the only program that I found in the Fairfax, Loudon Country area that had a program willing to include independent disabled riders. I can still ride and compete, I just need assistance with the basics: mounting, dismounting grooming, etc. As I figured, the balance exercises when incorporated with riding made major improvements in my ability to walk and stand more steadily and to re-learn how to 're-educate' my neurological system to compensate for the deficiencies. The staff is awesome and very helpful. By combining physical therapy and knowledge of the movement of the horse, and horsemanship, a very powerful sense of accomplishment and progress has been created. My balance is better and as is my confidence in being able to get around especially around horses.

Thank you Golden Dreams!

— Kate Bailey

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