My husband and I are originally from New Jersey. We spent a few years in Maryland, before moving to Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1995, and falling in love with the warm, wonderful people and boundless beauty of this state. We love it here and we’re proud to be ‘naturalized’ North Carolinians. Our children, Tori and Jacob, were born here.
I joined the Board of Directors in 2014, and I serve on both the Marketing and Development Committees. Since 2014, I’ve also been serving my second term as Parent Liaison. I’ve been passionately volunteering with Helping Horse for 20 years, since my first term as Parent Liaison, in 2000. You may be wondering why I’ve dedicated two decades of service to this wonderful program. (And why my son also volunteers with the program.) May I share our story with you?
My daughter, Tori, has special needs. When she was little, doctors were convinced she would never be able to walk independently. What a difficult thing to hear! The parents in our special needs support group suggested therapeutic riding. We came across Helping Horse and registered Tori in the program.
Tori began riding with Helping Horse at age four, in September of 2000. Her torso and pelvic muscles were so weak that the Sidewalkers had to not only hold her in the saddle, they also had to hold her upright on the horse. She rode in a group class once a week, for one hour each time. At the end of four lessons, she gained trunk control and greater stamina. By eight lessons, she developed pelvic control and balance, and could hold herself up in the saddle. And that December – after only ten lessons – Tori took her first independent steps! It was a miraculous event, one that opened the door of independence not only for Tori, but for our entire family.
The horse loving folks reading this probably know what we learned back then – that the gait of a horse is similar to the gait of a human. Being on the back of a horse helped Tori develop the muscle control, strength and stamina she couldn’t attain through other therapies. I’m eternally grateful to Helping Horse’s dedicated volunteers and horse heroes, who made it possible for Tori to walk on her own.
I dedicate my service to Helping Horse for one simple reason: to help this outstanding program offer the same opportunity Tori had, to as many riders as possible – the chance to discover and achieve their own stories of success and independence.
Do you know someone who may benefit from our program? Click here to learn more about riding with Helping Horse. I look forward to seeing you at the farm!
– Laurie C. Rosenfeld
Member, Board of Directors and Parent Liaison