‘Our son was diagnosed with both physical and verbal/oral dyspraxia at the age of 4. During his early years into his early teens, he availed of some services like Enable Ireland, but once in his mid-teens there was very little on offer for him.When we heard about Connemara Therapeutic Riding, through Forum Connemara’s Ability Programme, we decided to bring him. I was apprehensive as he had never been on a farm before, let alone trying to ride a horse – he has special awareness, balance and coordination issues. My doubts were quickly cast aside, as the moment you drive into the centre you can sense the peaceful and calm environment.He immediately formed a strong bond and relationship with the wonderful staff there, especially Jaqui, who had him riding a horse and going up steep hills in no time – something I could never have imagined.He now looks forward to his weekly visit and wishes it could be more. We have noticed an immense improvement in his confidence, his physical and mental health and more importantly for us – his social skills. He has made friends with some of the other members.He loves grooming the horses and other farm activities around the site – all of which is strengthening his fine and gross motor skills. The benefits are astounding in such a short amount of time.I can only highly recommend Connemara Therapeutic Riding and thank its staff and all involved for making his life and ours so much better. ‘Aoife, Mum of one of our riders‘As a parent of two boys who regularly take part in Connemara Therapeutic Riding sessions, this is a wonderful cause run by a hardworking, knowledgeable and enthusiastic team. It is the only activity which my boys (one with special needs) can do together which increases their social awareness, improves concentration and helps overcome their fears. They learn to take responsibility, take care of themselves and others and it gives them a sense of pride and an appreciation for the simple things in life. We have really missed it in 2020. It has great potential for expanding its facilities and is a brilliant asset to the community. We really hope this service will continue. Thank you. ‘Mum to one of our riders.
‘Roisin loves the social side of Therapeutic Riding – meeting up with a different group of friends in the beautiful, relaxed setting of Errislannan. She had some difficulty initially mounting the pony, but this was overcome thanks to the great skill and enthusiasm of the therapists. The whole place celebrated with her when she took her first trip around the arena – the sense of achievement was enormous! A fantastic experience for her.’
Bernice – mum of one of our adult riders, Roisin.
‘Connemara Therapeutic Riding is quietly and effectively improving the quality of life of so many people in our beautiful corner of the world. As Eva’s aunt, seeing the joy that this service gives to her has been a huge motivator for me to get involved.’
Laura – an aunt of one of our riders and a volunteer.
‘Six of our children currently attend Therapeutic Riding sessions…….There is no doubt that the classes have been beneficial to them……It strengthens the concepts that they have learned in class. That’s a great advantage. The children’s body stability and strength has improved.’
PJ Lee, vice principal Scoil Mhuire Clifden
‘Aonghus has to use all his muscles when he’s sitting on the horse and this helps with the difficulties he has with his muscles. That’s very evident in the way he’s running and doing other things now that he wasn’t so comfortable with before. The horses also give Aonghus a lot of confidence too. That’s another benefit associated with the therapy.
Brendan Joyce – dad of one of our riders, Aonghus.
‘We’re very lucky to have such a facility in Connemara and that it’s available to the children who are in need of it.’
Brendan O’Malley, FORUM Connemara