Work Day Magic
On Sunday, April 11, members of the Johnson County 4H Horse and Pony club spent hours at Miracles painting, dusting, weeding, raking, cleaning, and other spring (and post-construction) tasks. They were an amazing group, as you can see by admiring the dusted and painted Upmier Arena. Miracles is grateful for our volunteers.
Classes Will Start
With Covid-19 precautions in place for volunteers and riders and families, Miracles will hold adaptive (therapeutic) riding and hippotherapy classes beginning in April. If you want to volunteer to work as a side walker, horse leader, or barn assistant for these classes, please sign up on the Volunteer page.
The Miracles staff, horses, and volunteers are ready to provide the services we have offered since 1988.
Together We Can Make This Happen
All of us at Miracles are looking forward to a return to training volunteers and holding adaptive riding (formerly therapeutic riding) classes in 2021! Since at this time (late January) we don’t know when it will feel safe to bring groups to the farm, we will look to start with small groups of volunteers. We encourage everyone that can to get vaccinated as soon as they are able and to wear masks (both at the farm and whenever in contact with others). Together we can make this happen!
December Giving Ideas
Looking for a meaningful gift for the horse-lover in your life? Consider adopting one of our therapy horses – the adoption fee is $100/month. Check out which horses are available.
2021 calendars featuring Miracles horses are available. See article below for details.
Donations through the end of the year will have double the impact!
You can also make a donation to Miracles to honor a friend or a memorial donation. Donations now through the end of the year will be matched, doubling the impact on the lives of children and adults with special needs and veterans. Learn about one of our riders and summer Zoom students, Cooper, and hear from his mom what Miracles has meant to him.
Finally, if you would like to do something special for our horses or students, consider our 2020 wish list.
From all of us at Miracles in Motion, thank you for your support in 2020; we look forward to seeing you at the farm in 2021!
It Has Been a Learning Year: Giving Tuesday
The challenges of 2020 cannot be understated. But out of those challenges, we have developed new ways of communicating, had time to reflect on what is next for Miracles, and learned what Derecho means!
One of the advantages of working with therapeutic riding students online through our Zoom classes, is they can participate in the classes even when they are on vacation. The instructor, Diana, was so pleased to get a postcard from Cooper when he was vacationing with his family. And he was still able to sign in for that week’s Zoom class!
Giving Tuesday is a great time for us to recognize how much Miracles has been given this year – in addition to learning how to incorporate videos into our communication with students, parents, volunteers, and the interested public, we learned that even in times of stress, our supporters are still so generous! We also learned that support sometimes comes from unlikely sources – a group of “cowgirls” who had a rodeo after learning how to back up a horse trailer, a Minnesota Half-Arabian Horse Association looking to help a nonprofit after the Derecho, an Arizona therapeutic riding center closing its doors.
We are again asking for the support of those who can – many of our costs do not change despite not being able to welcome students to the farm, except in individual family groups. In addition to finishing our fundraising to enhance the experience for our riders through three capital projects, we still need to feed the horses, maintain fences, and complete the myriad tasks it takes to run a 76-acre farm.
For more information on Cooper’s experience (above: Cooper haltering Jet; Cooper outside riding Aspen) with our online classes, head over to our donation page. You can also see photos on our website of the enclosed Pavilion and construction progress on the new “front door” to the arena. Thank you for your continued support of Miracles!
ALL DONATIONS BETWEEN NOW AND THE END OF THE YEAR WILL BE DOUBLED!
Aspen not only remembered Cooper, but he also really enjoyed the grooming session that followed the online learning about “the Miracles way” to groom one of our therapy horses.
It goes without saying that 2020 has been a challenge for everyone including Miracles in Motion. But, as is often the case, out of adversity comes growth. Providing therapeutic riding classes virtually isn’t intuitive, but our intrepid PATH instructor, Diana Harris, and willing volunteers, Tracy Kolosik and Nikole Tutton, made it work. Diana and Tracy recorded videos for access by our students so they could learn about all that happens before a horse is brought up to the mounting block for classes. These videos will also prove invaluable to reinforce “the Miracles way” for our volunteer training.
After the students had a chance to view the videos, zoom classes were scheduled with 2-3 therapeutic riding students at a time. Each 4-week series of classes covered one topic. The material – haltering, leading, grooming, tacking, etc. – was demonstrated in real time and students could ask and answer questions to facilitate understanding. After completion of each unit the students were offered the opportunity to practice what they had learned, one at a time, at the farm. This hands-on session was so rewarding for the students, parents, and volunteers. The enthusiasm was contagious. It was so wonderful to again have students and therapy horses together!
In talking with Cooper and his mom, Becky, she mentioned that the day before the session, Cooper would say, “I can’t wait to tell Diana something tomorrow!” And we at Miracles can’t wait to have all our therapeutic riding students and hippotherapy riders back at Miracles!
We would appreciate your help in continuing to provide those with special needs the chance to connect with our volunteers, other students and our wonderful horses. Donate here and hear Becky's comments about Cooper and Miracles.
BSA Horsemanship Merit Badge
In an environment of pandemic setbacks, Miracles in Motion has launched a new program in cooperation with the Hawkeye Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, to provide differently abled Scouts with the opportunity to earn their Horsemanship Merit Badge.
“The Horsemanship Merit Badge is largely an independent program, driven by the Scouts themselves. Our program addresses the first nine requirements and checks the Scout’s knowledge in a virtual setting” said Nikole Tutton, vice president and merit badge counselor at Miracles in Motion. “Then, we work on the hands-on and riding conditions until the scouts are proficient and have completed all the requirements to achieve the Merit Badge.”
The Horsemanship Merit Badge requires Scouts to be tested on general equine knowledge, safety, horse care, and basic horse anatomy. For the hands-on part of the requirements, candidates learn to tack, groom, saddle, and bridle a horse, then lead, mount and dismount, and ride independently at a walk and trot.
Virtual classes are nothing new to Miracles. Many students have learned how to groom and tack horses in online classes offered during the pandemic.
“It’s a great way to keep students engaged and interested in horses during a tough time,” said Lois James, president of Miracles board of directors. “It also keeps our volunteers engaged and motivated because seeing the students grow and flourish is what it is all about. Online classes also have the advantage of being offered year-round, which is something our students and families have expressed interested in.”
If you are interested in this program, or would like to have someone come and speak to your scout troop, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Our newsletter is formatted and edited by Lois James .