Special Methods in Learning Equine Skills (SMILES) is a non-profit organization that offers therapeutic and recreational horsemanship lessons to disabled children and adults as well as horse experiences and activities resulting in therapeutic success. Uses responsible, trained volunteers.
The program serves children and adults with special needs. Groups come from residential faculties, area school districts and state schools such as Wisconsin School for the Deaf and Wisconsin School for the Visually Handicapped. Many others are brought by their parents, spouses or friends.
Therapeutic Riding and Hippo therapy take the well known positive effects of human/animal interaction a step further by engaging the body, as well as the mind. The rider's need for constant adjustment to the horse's forward, lateral and diagonal movement not only focuses concentration but also exercises both sides of the body and increases joint function, providing clinical benefits, but in a context the rider actually looks forward to and enjoys. This unique combination of exercise, concentration and just plain fun, creates a powerful therapeutic effect. From the dramatic results of a child's first steps, or words, to the more subtle ability of a child with Attention Deficit or Hyperactive Disorder to stay on task, the results of this program are nothing short of miracles.
HEARTS Program is for those for whom riding is not an option. Just being around horses is a therapy.
Eligibility: Needs a physician's release to participate.