For some people, horses can be intimidating just by their sheer size. But they’re not so scary when you have an apple to offer.
Thanks to the horses, Whispering Meadows Ranch was alive with learning and laughter Saturday, Nov. 13, at the Fall Festival.
Whispering Meadows is a nonprofit organization that focuses on the mission to enrich the lives of those with disabilities and special needs through their recreational, educational and equine programs.
“Our approach at the beginning was to take things nice and slow and to really work with the community and find out what their needs were, especially from the special needs community,” said program coordinator Kristine Aguirre.
Two years later, the ranch offers a variety of program for adults and children with disabilities. Programs offered include horseback riding lessons, which help riders with physical disabilities improve flexibility, balance and muscle strength.
Horsemanship lessons teach general safety and awareness. Horse health care, stable management and equine behavior are also provided at the ranch In addition to their equine programs, the ranch also offers work and service-learning programs.
These programs give participants a place to participate and give back to the community, according to Aguirre.
Whispering Meadows has also started a photography program. With three cameras, one printer and a stockpile of photo journals, the goal is to show the ranch from the participant’s point of view. The goal of this program is to eventually have an art show to display the completed photo-journals.
“I think we’re doing the right things: staying small and really focusing on the need for the community,” Agguirre said.
The biggest problem the program is running into is the lack of transportation for students. There is no funding for field trips to the ranch, and the group is requesting help from the community.
For more information on the ranch and the programs offered, visit www. whisperingmeadows ranch.org.