Friends for Tomorrow
 

PROGRAMS

Therapeutic Horseback Riding

As a small, volunteer-based organization, we offer an individualized program for each rider. Giving one-on-one lessons, we are able to tailor every lesson to each rider’s evolving needs and personality. We work closely with parents to design lesson programs for their children that advance both short and long-term goals for personal and physical growth.What remains constant is the attention to detail we ensure each and every child gets when riding with us.

Lessons typically involve grooming, tacking up the horse, leading, riding, and other barn related activities. Each lesson involves a team consisting of the rider, an instructor and one, two or three volunteers. Lessons are designed to offer a consistent environment of acceptance and success, and we work diligently to create engaging and stimulating activities that build each riders horsemanship skills.

How our students benefit from their experience
From the moment a child arrives at the farm, every activity is therapeutically directed. Riding, feeding the horses, doing barn chores, participating in horse shows and socializing with other children provide challenges and immeasurable benefits… all under the guise of fun.


Video credit: iVideo Boston
Our parents have described seeing the following changes in their children:
  • Increased self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Gradual strengthening and suppling of muscles
  • Increased motivation
  • Increased comfort level with various sensory experiences
  • Increased ability to process sensory information
  • Enhanced body image and awareness
  • Increased use of and ease with social skills
  • Increased attempts at communication
Nick with his favorite pon Doc

For individuals with physical disabilities, riding a horse simulates the walking motion of a person, which aids in improving muscle strength, posture, flexibility, balance and coordination. The motion experienced while riding a horse provides the pelvis and hips with forward rotational movement in a synchronized alternating motion. Participants who are semi- or nonambulatory can gain benefits from this experience through passive contraction and extension which help tone and supple muscle groups.

Through the nature of the horse’s movement, participants are able to achieve goals that are beneficial in a therapeutic way. For those with cognitive challenges, riding helps improve concentration, attention span, memory, speech and communication skills. For participants who are struggling behaviorally and emotionally, interaction with horses teaches teamwork, communication and responsibility. All students are challenged with success-oriented experiences, which build their self-esteem.

Pony Partners

PONY PARTNERS

Pony Partners (PP) is an experiential empowerment group for 8-10 year old girls. It is appropriate for able-bodied girls who have a love of animals and are struggling socially, personally and/or academically as they approach the middle school years.

Pony Partners has been created to fill a need for these girls by providing an appealing activity in which young girls can explore personal growth in many areas. Our students will discover or increase their knowledge of horsemanship. Each Pony Partners meeting involves group activities including discussion, exercise, art, Pony Partner girl hugging ponyjournaling, and time with the horses. We will examine the horses’ nature, their needs and their nonverbal world through observation, haltering, grooming, and leading exercises. Pony Partners is not about learning to ride; it is a chance to explore and develop knowledge of horses, the herd (both 2 legged and 4 legged) and the power of body language. Our carefully designed activities provide students with a chance to develop their problem-solving skills, and to learn how to be effective in a team (horses, staff and students).

Download a Pony Partner Brochure



Video credit: iVideo Boston

HOOVES, PAWS AND CLAWS Hoove, Paws & Claws

Hooves, Paws and Claws (HPC) is a six week, around-the-farm program is designed to engage students physically, cognitively and socially with peers, animals and Friends For Tomorrow staff, while learning about animals’ needs, the care and management involved and responsible pet ownership. Students will focus each week on one aspect of animal care, such as diet, exercise, or health, and will work with each other and the staff to experience the animals and what they require.  We use a learner-centered approach in which the students are pushed to ask questions and investigate the answers through active engagement, observation and manipulation of things and phenomena, and discovery of knowledge.

This program will ultimately help students learn about relating with and caring for animals, time management and teamwork, while continuing to develop a positive work ethic. All these skills can be transferred outside of the barn and will help prepare these students for the future.

Some of the topics covered in HPC:
  • Understanding an animal’s natural instincts to help with training
  • Non-verbal communication in animals– how humans learn it and how it is used;
  • The differences between species and how that changes what each animal’s needs are;
  • Caring for an animal so that all of their needs are met, looking at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs;
  • Creating a relationship with animals based on trust and respect;
  • and much more!

Download a Hooves, Paws and Claws brochure