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I have known "J" since his birth. He is a very bright child with a severe speech and language barrier that prevents him from communicating with others. He has apraxia. I consulted with his speech language pathologist (SLP) to continue the same type of program that she had been using.  "J’s" SLP gave her blessing. I talked with "J’s" family and we began riding lessons in June of 2016. "J" was saying limited single words and for the most part not understood by family or friends. However, by October of 2016, "J" has advanced to saying three word sentences with meaning.   

I have been a speech language therapist for 36 years in the Ada public schools. I began volunteering at Leap O Faith because I grew up with horses and wanted to combine my love of teaching speech and riding. I have worked for years the traditional way with other children before seeing these same type of results that "J" is having in so short a time. He will ride for an hour, totally engaged in the lesson. He has gone from not saying anything, to signing, to now saying, “Walk on” in only 5 months! When I heard him say, “Walk on” for the first time I wanted to dance, cry, and leap for joy all at the same time. Lately, he has advanced to saying, “Me ride Red” (one of the therapy horses) or “My Ted” (one of the volunteers.) I believe it is the action of riding or the natural crisscross pattern of the horse’s steps they helped "J's" motor planning with his apraxia. While he is riding, he is bombarded with a phonetic sound that his SLP has assigned for the week. I know each individual is different but "J's" progress is truly a miracle!

Harriet Weber
Speech Language Therapist

When "L" was four years old, she was diagnosed with anxiety, depression, conversion disorder, PTSD, and Trichotillamania. She was very clingy and would cry when being dropped-off at school as recently as this past year. "L" also had no eyelashes or eyebrows due to her pulling them out to cope with her feelings. 

Then I heard about the Leap O' Faith program in Ada for kids with disabilities that used horses to help them cope with their disabilities. This program, and Kathy in particular, have been such a blessing for "L". She is off her medications, her eyelashes are growing back, and best of all, she smiles all the time now!

Leap O' Faith and Kathy have done what other therapies have not and given "L" her life back.


Leap O' Faith Therapeutic Riding Center. Inc.

Ada, Oklahoma

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Project: Safety & Accessibility

The Leap O’ Faith TRC has finished construction of their covered arena and is now in need to make the therapy riding area safe and accessible for all clients, especially those with physical disabilities. The following are the most pressing needs this project will address:

  •  320’ of panel railing (including two gates) to go around the inside perimeter of the arena to contain both 
    horse & rider in a safe area and prevent damage to the arena covering.   Cost of railing - $3,336

  • A portable handicap-accessible bathroom with a composting toilet that will be used at the arena and can 
    also be moved to the uncovered arena area during special riding events.   Cost of portable bathroom - $4,179

  • An ATV maintenance vehicle and a portable 300 gallon tank on a trailer to water the arena, limiting the
    dust which would be inhaled by sensitive riders and volunteers. The vehicle will also be used to drag the 
    arena using our existing pull, keeping the footing evenly watered and groomed for each day’s activities. 
    Cost of ATV - $6,025; tank trailer -  $4,390. Total of both - $10,415

While the covered arena is a huge step forward for The Leap O’ Faith TRC in providing quality, year-round equine therapy to Ada’s disabled community, it is imperative that the facility be accessible and safe while in operation as laid out in the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) guidelines.