Catherine Hand

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Tuesday, 16 August 2011 09:55

Putting Special Needs Kids In The Saddle

 

 

 

Putting special needs kids in the saddle

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JoAnna Mueller

Being able to spend time working with horses while helping people was something that fit together perfectly for JoAnna Mueller.

When she learned about Dream Rider Equestrian Therapy in Alpine, “I was like, ‘Wow! That’s what I want to do!’” she said.

Dream Rider is a nonprofit therapeutic riding center that helps children with special needs and also offers riding lessons to children without special needs. In therapy, the goal is to improve the function, strength, balance, sense of direction, independence and confidence of special needs children through activities with horses, according to a news release.

Mueller, 23, lives in El Cajon and works full time as lead tutor at Helix Charter High School in the tutoring program for ninth-graders. For three to four hours a week for the past year, she volunteers at Dream Rider. Her main job involves getting the horses ready by grooming them, saddling them, working them out if they’re a bit active and preparing them for the lesson. Lessons are tailored to a child’s specific needs, which can involve leading the horse and making sure the animal is under control while also leading activities that will strengthen the child’s physical and mental ability.

“Our goal is for (the clients) to achieve increased independence,” Mueller said. “Being independent is really important if they want to be more in charge of their own life ... we want them to realize they can have a say in what happens to them in life.”

One of the students Mueller has been working with is 12-year-old Alise Yamamoto, who has been diagnosed as developmentally delayed. Mueller uses exercises like “around the world” — changing her position on the horse by moving her body to face four different directions while the horse remains still — to build her physical strength and flexibility. The lessons also help Alise mentally.

“She’s just so much more confident and happy,” said Alise’s mother, Samantha. “I’ve noticed that after, when she rides and gets off of the horse, her gait is better. She’s more balanced on her feet and she’s talking my ear off. It’s the one thing that Alise can have that’s just hers and really gets her excited.”

Samantha Yamamoto describes Mueller as someone who has a natural ability to connect with people because she’s patient, calm and giving. It also helps that Mueller just plain loves the work.

“I love that I get to be around the horses because, for me, I think there’s a therapeutic element to it for me. The feel of them, their smell. I just love all of that,” Mueller said. “But I love working with the clients as well. Being a part of their achievement and being a part of them growing ... and to see more of their personalities. I love that.”

Do you know of a volunteer who should be in the spotlight? Contact Lisa Deaderick at (619) 293-2503, or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Written by
Lisa Deaderick /h5>

 

Sunday, 27 March 2011 21:05

SDSU PR video of Alise's Lesson

This film is part of a journalism project about Healing With Horses in San Diego, County. Kayla Eide shot and edited  the clip shown here.  The following text accompanies this video:

Alise, a 12-year-old girl with brain damage, has just returned to sessions at Dream Rider Equestrian Therapy after a year in a body cast. She underwent two surgeries and had many of her bones reset in order to reduce mobility problems. Now she's back in the saddle, expanding her mind and body with the help of a pony named Treasure.

San Diego State University Media student, Kayla Eide makes PR film about work at Dream Rider Equestrian Therapy on March 12, 2011.

To view the film you can  see it on our Blog page or at JMS Reports link on our links page.

Thursday, 03 March 2011 22:30

Purina Recognizes Dream Rider with a Grant

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PURINA MILLS SUPPORTS LOCAL BREAST CANCER REHAB CENTER

by Shirley Clukey

Alpine, CA, February, 2011—Dream Rider Equestrian Center, the flagship of equine assisted activities and therapies for breast cancer patients and survivors, is this year’s recipient of funds from Purina Mills’ annual Equine Affaire™ Nicker Maker® Campaign.

 The southern California Purina Mills sales team donated 100% of the profits from their sales of Nicker Maker™ horse treats to Dream Rider. The check for $500.00 will help to provide feed for Dream Rider’s therapy horses.

 “We hope this donation will help your organization continue to provide valuable therapy horses to those in need,” wrote Rebecca Nunes, Southern California District Representative for Purina Mills, in her notification letter to Dream Rider’s founder, Catherine Hand. Besides providing vital support to Dream Rider, the donation also honors the unique rehabilitative work of Dream Rider, in light of the other “hundreds of requests for products and services” also mentioned in the letter.

 Dream Rider Equestrian Therapy is a 501c3 non-profit founded in 2010 and dedicated  to the rehabilitation of breast cancer patients and survivors. Each session of equine assisted activities and therapies (EAAT) takes place in a private, picturesque, natural setting. Sessions address the whole woman in a holistic approach that respects each client’s dignity.

 

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Thursday, 03 March 2011 21:18

Purina Grant

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                             PURINA MILLS SUPPORTS LOCAL BREAST CANCER REHAB CENTER

by Shirley Clukey

Alpine, CA, February, 2011—Dream Rider Equestrian Center, the flagship of equine assisted activities and therapies for breast cancer patients and survivors, is this year’s recipient of funds from Purina Mills’ annual Equine Affaire™ Nicker Maker® Campaign.

 The southern California Purina Mills sales team donated 100% of the profits from their sales of Nicker Maker™ horse treats to Dream Rider. The check for $500.00 will help to provide feed for Dream Rider’s therapy horses.

 “We hope this donation will help your organization continue to provide valuable therapy horses to those in need,” wrote Rebecca Nunes, Southern California District Representative for Purina Mills, in her notification letter to Dream Rider’s founder, Catherine Hand. Besides providing vital support to Dream Rider, the donation also honors the unique rehabilitative work of Dream Rider, in light of the other “hundreds of requests for products and services” also mentioned in the letter.

543 Anderson Road

Alpine, CA 91901

619-445-2576

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Wednesday, 22 December 2010 18:50

Equestrian center aids cancer victims

Equestrian center aids cancer victims

Arabian horse `Shalom’ is key component of rehabilitation efforts at Dream Rider site

Monday, December 20, 2010 at 1:09 p.m.

ALPINE — Translated from Hebrew to English, the word shalom means many things, including hello and goodbye. It also means peace and completeness.

It wasn’t by chance that “Shalom” was the name given to a white Arabian horse at Dream Rider Equestrian Therapy, a rehabilitation center in Alpine that uses horses and music to help breast cancer survivors.

The center, which was founded last summer, provides exercises designed to each cancer survivor’s rehabilitation needs. It starts with a survivor resting prone on Shalom’s back while the two align breathing patterns. More exercises are slowly and methodically introduced, with the intention of improving blood circulation and breathing.

Shalom was rescued at a Northern California horse auction by a nonprofit before Dream Rider founder Catherine Hand brought him to Alpine and gave him his new name.

Hand believes strongly in the peace and healing power Shalom provides to patients who survived the harsh physical toll of chemotherapy and radiation, plus the less visible psychological and emotional scars, including loss of self esteem.

“There’s so much turmoil we go through in our identity that you cannot express,” said Hand, a former opera set designer, painter and university lecturer who in 2007 was diagnosed with final stage breast cancer and given less than a month to live.

She was in a wheelchair and on oxygen support when she had a chance connection with a horse. By using hippotherapy, the art of horse movement helping humans, her life, Hand said, was saved.

“When you sit backward on horse, you’re sitting next to the horse’s lungs and heart, and that goes through your spine, your life center,” Hand said. “You can feel when the horse breathes in and out. It’s very deep. I was able to retrain myself to breathe without the oxygen... I was able to push myself to sit up. My diaphragm, which had become compressed, dropped and air rushed right into my lungs. It let the air out and released the toxins from chemo. It was such a dramatic experience.”

Information about the center can be found at dreamriderequestriantherapy.com or (619) 445-2576.

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; (619) 293-1829; Twitter @karenpearlman

Wednesday, 22 December 2010 00:10

Blog

This image is protected by copyright.

Please do not use it without permission from the artist.

 

 

 

 

 

Blog content became available as of December 21, 2010.

On November 5, 2010 Dream Rider received 501(c) 3 approval from the IRS making all contributions tax deductible. The approval letter is posted on the About Us drop down link.

On December 15th, 2010 paypal was added to our donations options, which allows donors to make a direct online contribution which generates a tax deductible receipt stating what the donation is to be used for. The choices can be for client fees for breast cancer or handicapped children whose parents need help paying for their equestrian therapy. Donations can also be made for the maintenance of our two senior therapy horses, who need a special diet and veterinary care. . Help is greatly appreciated to cover these costs.

 On December 16, 2010, an inspiring article was published in the Union Tribune. It was written by Karen Pearlman who wrote eloquently about our Shalom and why he received his new name when he joined us, making the Dream Rider Breast Cancer rehab program a reality. Here is the link to her online article at sign on San Diego.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/dec/20/equestrian-center-aids-cancer-victims/

 

 

Saturday, 18 December 2010 19:06

Newsletter

IRS Approves Dream RIder non-profit status as of November 5th 2010. Now we can build!

Feb. 2011 Dream Rider receives a special grant from Purina Mills for continuation of the project and care of the horses in 2011.

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Catherine Hand, survivor and NARHA Advanced Instructor has dedicated Dream Rider Equestrian Therapy to helping other breast cancer patients survive and thrive.

543 Anderson Road, Alpine, CA  91901  |  619-445-2576  |  info@dreamriderequestriantherapy.com
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