Do you love horses and want to see others experience the healing power of that love? Do you or someone you know have a child with special needs and obstacles that take a lot of determination to overcome? Are you looking for an organization to support that will capture your heart and make a very real difference in the lives of children and their families here in Southern Oregon? Keep reading to find out more about Crossing Bridges, a sanctuary where horse and child meet, bond, and cross over life's bridges together.
Crossing Bridges is a therapeutic riding center located in Grants Pass, OR. It is a place where the gentle sway of a horse's gait and the unconditional love they exude have the power to touch lives in ways unimaginable. They have a team of instructors, volunteers, and horses that serve children over 3 years old, both with special needs and able-bodied, in weekly riding lessons that encourage growth, positive choices, and accomplishing goals. Get ready to step inside an oasis of hope. You will discover a world where horses become healers, mentors, and cherished companions. It's a place where barriers dissolve, and where the transformative power of love and acceptance creates miracles, one hoofbeat at a time.
Crossing Bridges is full of staff and volunteers that are passionate about both horses and children. They put safety as a top priority while going above and beyond to connect each child with horses that will help them reach their goals and thrive. At the heart of Crossing Bridges Therapeutic Riding Center lies a mission to empower individuals and families through the transformative power of horses. With an abundance of patience and a whole lot of joy and laughter, every child is given a safe place to learn and grow, not only in their physical, emotional, cognitive, and social abilities, but their love for horses and knowledge of their care. No matter where they are at when they arrive, each accomplishment is celebrated and every hurdle in the way is tackled together.
Every student at Crossing Bridges has a unique opportunity to participate in the fun and joyful activity of riding horses. During lessons they learn how to connect with animals, how to care for their needs, and follow directions. Horseback riding has been proven to help children with balance, strength, and coordination. The movement of the horse has even been shown to help children delayed in speech. Each child is able to practice social skills as they work with an instructor and follow through on different tasks. There are many opportunities for both fine and gross motor skill development, as the students do a range of activities while prepping the horse, riding, and caring for the horse afterwards. No matter what their skill level is, there is always something to accomplish and then master as they grow in their knowledge of horses and ability to ride. Children learn self-confidence, patience, determination, and respect as they work with these beautiful animals that give such unconditional love. And there is a team of dedicated professionals there every step of the way.
As a mom of a special needs boy, I cannot even begin to put into words what Crossing Bridges has meant to my family. My son loves animals! And the horses have only increased that love. The bond that he has with the horses carries over into other areas of his life. He started taking lessons when he still had a huge amount of difficulty with walking and staying balanced as he moved. They have worked hard to find the right horses for him to ride with a gait that challenges his balance enough to keep him engaged in the lesson. His speech has dramatically increased. His ability to follow directions and focus on an activity is challenged with every lesson, and he is learning how to care for a horse before and after a lesson. But above all, the staff go the extra mile every single lesson to make it a safe and fun experience that brings him a lot of joy while he is working hard to accomplish his goals. And that is absolutely priceless.
Crossing Bridges works hard to remove any barriers to children participating in therapeutic riding lessons. They have both a horse sponsorship program and a scholarship program that accept donations. Many of the families dealing with special needs have a multitude of other costs to manage financially, and the scholarship program goes a long way to make this program accessible to them.
You can find out more about supporting Crossing Bridges here - Ways to Give (crossingbridgestrc.org)
Thanks for reading!