Dare to Dream’s objective is to serve individuals with challenges or disabilities, including veterans and first responders and their families, at risk youth, and children or adults with special needs. We provide an opportunity for people to experience the unique power of horses, to have adventures, and to enjoy the beauty of nature because these experiences build a sense of purpose and confidence in participants.
The specific purpose of this campain is to cover the expense of the barn and facility leases to ensure that under-served Highland mountain community residents can have access to equine therapy services. The lack of social services support in Highland County, Virginia and surrounding counties has been a focus in local news for quite some time. Effective preventive services for at-risk youth are critical. Recreation opportunities for special needs children are extremely limited. The surrounding area is under-served for many types of wellness services. Funding to cover operating expenses would ensure cost-effective services are available to our targeted communities and the individuals who would benefit greatly from equine therapy, but are limited in their ability to pay for services.
Therapeutic horsemanship is expensive to deliver. Fees cannot be waived due to the operational expense of caring for the horses. For a broad brush program that addresses a wide range of special needs, a variety of horses of different sizes and skills is necessary. In addition, instructors must have expertise with horsemanship, fundamental knowledge of disabilities, and teaching skills. Instructors are required to be PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) certified. Most lessons require two side-walkers and a horse leader per participant – plus the certified instructor. These side-walkers and horse leader roles are typically filled by volunteers but the organization incurs the expense of recruiting, vetting, training, and coordinating volunteers. Because therapeutic riding is not a treatment that is typically covered by insurance carriers, families must pay out of pocket for the sessions. The gap is typically covered through community sponsorships, donations and grants so the success of Dare to Dream is dependent on effectively competing for grants and donations. Without financial support, few will be able to participate in this form of therapy.
Obviously Dare to Dream requires facilities to operate. A barn with five stalls, riding ring, round pen, pastures, and trails are available at Dare to Dream to care for the horses and provide a safe setting for lessons. Donations will aid in further establishing Dare to Dream as a viable non-profit serving our community. Funding will provide a stronger financial foundation for our future and enhance our visibility, enabling Dare to Dream to further establish our sustainability.