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Meet The Grantee: Lovelane Therapeutic Horseback Riding Program

Posted on February 28, 2023
Wonderful things can be accomplished when non-profits support one another.

Bradley on a horse and his instructor smiling togetherLovelane, located in Lincoln, MA, is a pediatric, therapeutic horseback riding program for children with special needs. In a typical year, Lovelane provides 4,500 therapeutic sessions, all of which share the same goal: to dramatically improve the physical and cognitive development of each student.

Since its beginning 35 years ago, Lovelane has strived to create a fun, therapeutic environment that encourages the results achieved in the ring be transferred to other areas of the child’s life, such as at home or in school. The developmental results demonstrated in their students include improved focus and concentration, speech and language skills, independence, confidence, and social development. Physical results include improved muscle tone and strength, increased balance, range of motion and mobility, and sensory integration. Once a child enrolls in the program, the family is a part of the Lovelane community for an average of 10 years, and goals are adjusted as the child grows and matures.

As a fellow non-profit, The Genesis Foundation is proud to support the important work of Lovelane and the services they provide for our shared community of children with complex medical needs.

For four years, The Genesis Foundation has provided funding support for Lovelane in the form of a Therapeutic Program Assistance (TPA) grant. The most recent grant awarded to Lovelane for the 2023 program will fund safety devices and riding tack required for the lessons, as well as provide tuition assistance for families in need, and support the care and maintenance of their uniquely trained therapy horses.

For many students and families, Lovelane is their home away from home—their happy place. As one parent described their child’s experience here, “Lovelane disguises hard work and professional therapy in an environment of fun, enthusiasm, and love.

Meet Ollie and Dillon

Ollie’s Story

Ollie smiling with his walker

Ollie was just two years old when he started riding at Lovelane. He was navigating his pediatric walker for mobility and experiencing low muscle tone and a weak core that is typically found in children with Down syndrome. He also had fine motor, cognitive, and speech difficulties. At Lovelane, with the help of the horses and his volunteers, Ollie’s instructor focused on strengthening his core through physical exercises and integrating speech therapy through song and sign language. Then, at age four, Ollie said his first sentence while at Lovelane, “I want more fast please!” Now, with a growing number of words and signs, Ollie can express what he wants, ask for what he needs, and communicate at home. Since beginning his weekly therapeutic riding sessions at Lovelane, Ollie has become stronger physically, more socially engaged, and aware of his abilities—expanding his world of possibilities. Ollie’s confidence has increased dramatically; he is determined to succeed. His motivation has led him to walk independently, tackle the stairs in his house, and climb the slide at the park. There is no stopping him now!

Dillon’s Story

Dillion high fiving his instructor on a horseWhen Dillon was one, he was diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy that involves long-term complicated management of his seizures. Classified as a rare disease, this syndrome has resulted in global developmental delays. Despite his struggles, Dillon is a loving, hardworking, charismatic boy who was referred to Lovelane by his neurologist with the goal of supporting him to “get the most out of life.” At Lovelane, he has found this path. When Dillon is astride a moving horse, he is receiving the gross motor stimulation that he desperately needs, and just as importantly, he is joyful, confident, focused, and present. He takes to this activity like no other and it has transformed his life. While on his horse, Dillon works hard on his gait, core strength, motor and communication skills. Dillon is working on his verbal skills, although while riding a horse he has no trouble expressing his joy and delight. He engages with his instructors, sidewalkers and especially his horse. A parent’s greatest wish is to see their child thrive. Lovelane has given Dillon this opportunity.

Your donation to The Genesis Foundation for Children helps fund therapeutic programs like Lovelane and other deserving organizations that make an impact on the lives of children in New England with special needs. Please make a gift today.

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