PIQUA — Eagles’ Wings, a small 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, is seeking volunteers for their next eight-week riding session which begins in April 2020.
Eagles’ Wings provides equine-assisted therapeutic activities for people with special needs to benefit and improve their development and quality of life. Doctors, therapists, riding instructors, and those people with special needs have become aware of the positive physical and mental benefits of horseback riding. The horse’s movement provides the sensory input of a precise, repetitive pattern of movement very similar to the movement of a person’s pelvis during normal human gait. The horse’s center of gravity shifts forward, backward, up and down, and side to side just as the human’s does. Riders have the four legs of the horse that they can direct as they wish, which conveys a sense of mobility and power not otherwise available to the physically and mentally challenged. Benefits from therapeutic riding include improvements in: balance and coordination, gross and fine motor skills, posture, attention to ask, muscle tone and strength, direction following, flexibility, recognizing numbers, colors, letters, and shapes, verbalization and communication skills, appropriate socialization skills, trunk rotation, sensory integration issues, reaching and grasping, confidence and self-esteem.
Eagles’ Wings has four one-hour classes each week for eight weeks – the normal volunteer tour of duty is just one hour per week. If potential volunteers are comfortable around horses and have a passion for helping people, Eagles’ Wings has ways for them to contribute. They can lead a horse, be a side walker, groom and tack the horses, or help in the care and feeding of the horses and maintenance of the stable area. Volunteer interaction with the rider and the horse enables a rider’s bonding with the horse, which can provide the motivation to do dramatic things.
To emphasize the importance of the volunteer team, orientations are held before the start of each of Eagles’ Wings sessions. All volunteers are required to attend an orientation session before working. The next orientation will be on Saturday, March 21 at the Eagles’ Wings Riding Center, located at 5730 Washington Road. There will be a general orientation at 10:15 a.m. for new or current volunteers. For more information about volunteering, including an instructional video, please visit https://www.eagleswingsstable.org/volunteer.