Last week, my kids and I got to experience visiting an amazing local organization: Horses That Help. They are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides free horseback riding lessons to local at-risk children. My kids were delighted to feed animals, pet bunnies, and even take a ride on Pepper, a 22-year old horse who is one of ten equine therapy horses who live on the farm, located in West Palm Beach.
The owner and founder of the program, Yvonne Moritz, who lives on the farm with her husband and three children and grew up in the area, said that she loves working with kids and horses. Typically, they serve 80-200 children each month, including children with special needs, at-risk youth and teens, children of veterans, and children in foster care. Horses That Help became a nonprofit organization in 2015.
Recently, they had to temporarily suspend the program, due to COVID-19 and social distancing measures. With the cost each week to care for the animals, after a few months, they were struggling. A parent of a child in the program suggested that they open to the public for tours, to stay open and raise funds. They did just that, and you can book a 45-minute tour on their Facebook page, or call or text (561) 281-8599 to request a time slot. The cost of each tour is $40 and is for one family with up to three children.
During the tour, my kids radiated happiness while they fed and petted the animals, from baby bunnies to a 35-year old box tortoise. It was a fun outing that was safe and socially distanced.
From their website:
“In this supportive, safe, caring environment, these kids are thriving and are empowered through each obstacle they overcome. They become family. These kids come to the ranch for mentoring, food, fellowship and learning. Learning not just about horses but life skills as well. But I envision even greater growth . . . I see mentors in place to teach mechanics and carpentry and sustainable gardening. I see teams fixing the cars of single moms and special needs families. I see teams building tables where families gather to eat the food we all prepare with the organic produce they helped grow.
I see hurting, starved, abused horses being loved on tenderly by kids who’ve been through the same. I see abandoned animals and people being made whole and given a new purpose and hope for their future.
I see good people in bad situations being helped.
I see urban youth going camping, roasting marshmallows, and riding a horse deep into the woods. Healing happens on long, quiet trail rides for both horse and rider and neither return unchanged.
I see kids that feel hopeless rising above their circumstance and becoming leaders and mentors.
I see community support and resources available to help their families and a network of people joining together to help however needed. I see lives changed for generations to come . . . and it all starts with a kid and a horse.”
To learn more and to support this great program, visit their website https://horsesthathelp.org/.