PATH Intl. is pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2016 Riders Assistance Fund Scholarship is Josemar Flores, a participant at Wings of Hope Equitherapy, a PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center in Burleson, Texas. The purpose of the PATH Intl. Riders Assistance Fund is to assist a child who would not otherwise be financially able to participate, or continue participating, in equine-assisted activities and therapies at a PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center. Thanks to the generosity of its donors, in 2016 PATH Intl. was able to fund one $300 needs-based scholarship.
Josemar, who just turned seven, is on the autism spectrum and has cerebral palsy. When he started riding at Wings of Hope three years ago, he used a surcingle and had a leader and two side walkers. He was considered a rider who needed full support. Now, he rides in a saddle and only needs the help of a leader and side walker, who doesn’t need to physically support him any longer, but is there to help him with instructions and encouragement. “The rhymic gait and movement provided through the services received at our center allow Josemar the opportunity to make progress with his goals,” said Allison Gross, Wings of Hope’s Development Director. “Unlike any other services he may participate in throughout his life, the benefits he receives through our center at such a young age allow for early intervention, therefore making a lifelong impact on the challenges he will face due to his special needs.”
Josemar’s goals are to continue building strength and balance as well as communication. He has achieved the goal of communicating with his horse partner and using his voice to command his horse to walk-on and whoa. He is now transitioning to a longer term goal to expand his vocabulary to communicate with his volunteer team.
PATH Intl. is pleased to be part of helping Josemar achieve his goals. We thank those who have donated to the Riders Assistance Scholarship Fund for contributing to the success of this young rider.
“Since the beginning of our program 20 years ago, we have never turned a rider away for an inability to pay,” said Gross. “We strive to offer equine-assisted activities to all in need regardless of their financial situation. With the support of PATH Intl. and the Riders Assistance Scholarship Fund, we will be able to maintain our commitment to providing services for all those in need.”
If you would like to contribute to PATH Intl., visit www.pathintl.org and click Donate Now.
The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) was formed in 1969 to promote safety and optimal outcomes in equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAAT) for individuals with special needs. At 866 member centers, nearly 62,000 children and adults, including veterans, may find improved health, wellness and a sense of pride and independence through involvement with horses. Therapeutic horsemanship at member centers may include hippotherapy, equine-facilitated mental health, driving, interactive vaulting, trail riding, competition, groundwork and stable management. Through a wide variety of educational resources, the association helps individuals start and maintain successful EAAT programs. There are more than 55,000 volunteers, 4,666 instructors, 7,672 equines and thousands of contributors from all over the world helping people at PATH Intl. Member Centers.