Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind
Kicking off summer at Swiftsure Ranch, our first group from Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind unloaded off the bus and into the arena for a full day of adventures with horses. Students took turns at each of the stations which included a trail ride on the Sensory Trail, horse painting, and leading the miniature ponies through a barrel pattern. They were the first to test out our new addition to the Sensory Trail: a bean bag toss using tires donated by Les Schwab. These students with visual impairments took aim by listening to the instructors tap their boots on the tires to mark the targets…how clever and fun! To finish off the day, we all enjoyed a barbeque from the Kiwanis Club and dancing under the willow tree in our sequined souvenir cowboy hats. What a day!
Camp Rainbow Gold
Our instructor team and fabulous volunteers provided trail rides to all of the campers attending Camp Rainbow Gold, a children’s oncology camp, in Cathedral Pines. Many riders recognized their horse from previous years attending and for some it was the very first time they had ever ridden a horse. Either way, it was unanimously one of their favorite parts of attending camp.
Higher Ground Adaptive Sports Camp
Swiftsure has partnered with Higher Ground for many summers to create a collaborative camp experience using both teams of staff and Swiftsure volunteers. This year, 36 campers of all ages and abilities came together for trail rides, horse care activities, and art projects at the ranch for 3 days. We ended with an award ceremony (everyone took home the blue ribbon!) and a dance party complete with a bubble machine.
School district social worker Becky Tinsley and Jeanette McIlhenny partner with us each year to bring a special group of teens into the GALLOP program. This summer, 5 girls and 5 boys came to learn life skills, coping mechanisms, grounding techniques, horsemanship skills and equine facilitated learning experiences at the ranch. In addition to the learning experiences, they also received a stipend for the farm chores and event setup support they provided the ranch with during the week.
Therapeutic Riding Program
For our therapeutic riding participants we offered a unique camp experience that we call Camp HorsePower. For five weeks, the instructors made learning skills fun through five riding style themes: Dressage, Jumper, Trail Ride, Wild West and Rodeo. During dressage week, campers made their own top hats and learned arena patterns. Those in the jumper camp made stick horses and practiced jump courses over ground poles. All of the camps were in a group setting which fostered growth in social skills, confidence building and teamwork. We saw tremendous progress in our campers over the summer and we cannot wait to continue groups during our upcoming fall lessons with many of them.
Thursdays this summer we hosted the NAMI Bluebird teen group, a peer-support group with an emphasis on emotional well-being. Swiftsure partners with Bianca Zable, integrative health and wellness educator, to lead the teens through equine facilitated learning activities both mounted and on the ground using our special herd of therapy horses. We received amazing positive feedback from the teens and look forward to continuing this program and partnership with NAMI!
Senior Riders & Grooming Club
In addition, we would like to thank Senior Connection and Silver Creek Assisted Living for partnering with us to bring seniors out to the ranch to experience the horses and our property in a variety of ways. We are grateful for the opportunity to touch lives of all ages and stages of life that benefit from the human-horse connection. From our senior riders to our grooming club, we love seeing our seniors in action at the Ranch!