Invaluable therapeutic interactions

Invaluable therapeutic interactions

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To The Editor:

For seven years, Rising Tide Therapeutic Equestrian Center has provided positive educational and therapeutic interactions with horses to members of our community with special needs. What started as a dream for a small group of dedicated volunteers has become a reality for Martha’s Vineyard. Rising Tide is the only therapeutic equestrian center on the Island, offering programs to more than 150 clients throughout the year.

As knowledge about the therapeutic value of the various types of interactions with horses has grown, so has interest in Rising tide. Doctors, therapists and school personnel refer riders to us. In the summer, our friends at Camp Jabberwocky ride for two consecutive sessions. During the school year, we see children from all grades, at every Vineyard school. We have never turned away a prospective client because of their inability to pay.

Rising Tide has been able to manage escalating costs only through the dedication of an amazing group of volunteers, who clean our stables, feed and groom our horses, and work with our certified instructors during lessons. But the expense of maintaining a barn, four horses and providing individualized lessons is extraordinary. Even with the support of our generous donors and the work of the volunteers, Rising Tide now finds itself at a crossroads it had not expected. We now may be forced to close our doors or dramatically cut programs.

Perhaps many on the Vineyard are unaware of small programs like Rising Tide, which struggle to meet the needs of children and adults with disabilities, but the families of these children and adults know too well what the reduction in services across the board has meant to them.

We ask everyone whose family member has ridden with us, who volunteers with us, or who knows someone with a disability to think about the loss of our programs to the Vineyard. There is no other service which offers a nonverbal child an opportunity to “speak” to her friend the horse or enables a wheelchair bound man the opportunity to ride high in the saddle.

For more information about Rising Tide, visit our website at risingtidetec.org or call 508-693-1855.

Clare Harrington

President

Rising Tide Therapeutic Equestrian Center

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