Front Range Exceptional Equestrians
 The Month of May
A Promise of Warmth & Sunshine 
                           A Note from Executive Director - Cheryl Hotra                 
From our homes to yours...we encourage you to have Hope!
Hope for a good day today, and a brighter tomorrow!
As we enter the month of May, let us be grateful!
Let's appreciate and celebrate the special mom's in our lives this Mother's Day,
and honor our fallen service men and women
by raising our flag high and proud this Memorial Day!
Our therapeutic riding program may not be taking place in the arena right now,
but we will continue to bring you the horses, the instruction, the education, and the fun,
in the best ways that we can!
One way we hope to do that, is through this monthly program newsletter!
Join us, as we recognize and celebrate more of our participants and volunteers.
Be sure to read all the way to the bottom of the newsletter
to get details about the Equine Guess Who Game with Jessie
tomorrow night at 7pm! (Fri. May 8th)  You're sure to have some fun,
and possibly win a prize too!
 If you missed the April newsletter for any reason, click this button
to see what took place last month! 
Click here for the April Newsletter
Participant Spotlight
Meet Brooke Schmidt and her horse Lakota
Hi everyone! My name is Brooke and I have been riding with Front Range Exceptional Equestrians for over 21 years! I have been around horses my entire life, because my mom always had horses.  I never rode hers though, because they always had too much "get up and go", and mom was afraid I would get hurt. Then my friend Lisa started riding, and that's how we found Front Range Exceptional Equestrians!

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to ride all of the following program horses; Clown, Freddy, Marvel, Breezy, Star, Apache, Dockers, Whistle, and Snickers. The horse that really taught me to ride well though, was Merlin. He truly was a Magician. I really miss seeing him. After Clown was retired from the program, my family adopted him, and I rode him until he started having trouble with his eyes.

Then in 2012, I got a horse of my own!  His name is Lakota and he lives with my parents. He is my dream horse. When we got him we didn't know if he would make a good therapy horse, because he had a lot of "spunk" and requires very little leg pressure. Thankfully, he settled in and is now also used by other riders in the program. They all love to ride Lakota! He is very special to me and I love him a lot.
I am so proud that I can ride him independently.

Physically the program has strengthened my core and upper body.
I have problems with my joints hurting, and riding helps. I have also gained strength in the muscles of my legs. Because of riding I have more self confidence than I used to, and I can say that I can do something a lot of other people can't.
Not everyone can take control of a 1200 lb. animal!

The first thing the Dr. asked me when I went to Craig Hospital in Denver was, "What is your goal in life?" I told him, "to get back on my horse." I was in the hospital for 81 days and was back on Lakota by late summer with side walkers and a leader. My biggest problem is, that I have a hard time remembering patterns because my short term memory gives me trouble.  I am looking forward to riding this year, so that I can regain the skills that I had before I was paralyzed, and I'd like to learn some new skills too! 

I am a very outgoing person with a great sense of humor. I love to laugh and my joy in life is terrorizing my older brother, Brad. I have an 18 year old cat that I adopted 16 years ago as a stray. Her name is Nala and she is my shadow and follows me everywhere. Stuffed shells are my favorite food, but I will try anything. I am going back to work at Sam's Club next week and I am very excited!
Volunteer Spotlight
Hi!  I'm Jennifer Garwood
I have been volunteering with Front Range Exceptional Equestrians for about 10 years. I heard about the program through a friend of mine who had a horse being used in classes at that time. The horse was named Lily. I started out assisting with general barn care like; mucking stalls, moving hay, grooming and doing ground work with horses. I truly love being around horses, despite all of the hard work they require! One year, there was a need for volunteer sidewalkers and horse leaders... (cont.) I took the volunteer training classes, became a horse leader and the rest is history. I really enjoy the class setting and working with the participants. It allows me to see the pure joy and benefit each person gets from riding and being around horses and it is such a wonderful reward for me! I feel that I learn a lot from the instructors and the riders as well. I cannot express how grateful I am to be a part of such a wonderful organization!
"Thank you Jennifer!  We
Appreciate You!"
Fun Fact about Jennifer
I had a Shetland pony named Cookie when I was growing up. Here is a photo of me
as a little girl in my first horse leader role.
Myths about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
by Jill Doyle, MA, CCC-SLP, Ret
During my almost 40 year career as a speech language pathologist, I have worked with many clients with ASD. Recently I completed an online course offered by PATH Intl. about ASD. One of the topics they covered was the misconceptions people have about Autism. I have worked hard to dispell these myths over the years. They profoundly affect individuals interaction with people who have ASD. For our purposes, these misconceptions interfere with the benefit of building relationships and the outcome that a participant will have in our program.
So, lets’s take a look at a few of those myths:
1. People with ASD can’t communicate. FALSE. Individuals with ASD want to communicate with others but they may not know how or are unable to respond verbally. As volunteers we should watch for other means of nonverbal communication. Some of these might be facial expression, gestures, sign, use of augmentative (for example, a picture board) communication. Don’t get hung up waiting on a verbal response.

2. He/she isn’t listening or is considered rude because they never look at me. FALSE. Looking at the speaker’s face is an automatic behavior that is innate. However, individuals with ASD have to learn this behavior. It takes a lot of concentration for them to focus on what is being said in order to carry through on what is being asked. Looking at the volunteer who is speaking takes tremendous energy, listening to what is being said and focusing on that takes more energy as the rider with ASD is dealing with blocking out extraneous sounds, bright light, attempting to process multiple directions, etc. It helps the rider to focus on what is being asked of them if not being forced to look at the speaker.

3. If I talk louder, repeat myself, make the directions more complex it helps people with ASD understand what I am saying or want them to do. FALSE. Individuals with ASD want to enter into conversations or do what they have been asked to do. However they are often overloaded with verbiage. Volunteers or instructors meaning well and thinking they are helping the situation will repeat what was just said, others will join in, often increasing the volume, rapid fire. This can lead to overloading the rider resulting in increased stemming, perseverative (stuck) behavior, echolalia (repeating phrase or word over and over), or meltdown. To avoid overload one volunteer or instructor calmly speaking, allowing time for the rider to process, using direct, concrete statements, visual cue if applicable will lead a more positive outcome for all.

4. He/she’s autistic so he/she doesn’t understand what I am saying. FALSE. Individuals with ASD have comprehension. It is a spectrum, meaning a large range. ALWAYS assume the rider is comprehending what you are saying. Include them in the conversation, don’t talk over them as if they were not there.

People with ASD have strengths just like you and me. They have their challenges just like we do too. They get up every morning wanting to make a contribution.
Let's give them that opportunity!
Win a PRIZE Playing Equine Guess Who!
Free and Fun Virtual Event - This Fri. May 8th at 7pm!
Join us for a fun game of Equine Guess Who!
Front Range Exceptional Equestrians Program Manager, Jessie Butler will be hosting a free virtual video conference call for participants and volunteers.
Jessie will read facts about horses that we use for our
therapeutic riding program here at Front Range Exceptional Equestrians.
Everyone participating will have the chance to guess which horse
she has described. Those who answer correctly will receive an entry for each correct answer into a drawing to win a prize at the end of the game!
We will include horses that we use at both Legacy Stables and CSU.
RSVP Now by emailing
and receive an extra entry into the drawing!
Click Here to join the event and Play to Win! 
Visit our new Website!
If you are looking for updates on our program, have questions about our Scholarships, or simply want to see and learn more about our staff or our horses, our Website is the place you want to go. Click on this link to check out our website and to find helpful information.
Why Does our Non-Profit Therapeutic Riding Program Exist?
Front Range Exceptional Equestrians has been offering therapeutic riding lessons to the Fort Collins community for over 30 years. Our desire is to help make a difference in the lives of those living with various disabilities including Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Autism, Developmental & Cognitive Delays, Multiple Sclerosis, Emotional & Learning Disabilities and more. We have seen first hand how much our participants benefit from our therapeutic riding program. As a non-profit, we are only able to offer these equine assisted activities through the continued support of our community, and generous donors. On average, it costs approximately $4,000 per year to care for and feed just "one" of our therapy horses. If you would like to help us continue to provide our therapeutic riding lessons, we've made it simple for you or someone you know to make a quick, easy, tax deductible donation today. 
You can help us Make a Difference in someone's life too!
Thanks for your support!
Donate Today
Front Range Exceptional Equestrians
525 W. Oak St. Fort Collins, CO 80521
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