Horse therapy center seeks donations to build pavilion

September 9, 2021

Sonshine Equine Therapeutic Riding Center in Millsboro is moving ahead with the construction of an equine pavilion, a covered arena to enable lessons to continue with no weather interruptions.

The center needs donations to complete the $51,000 project.

This summer, the center had to cancel lessons because inclement weather conditions were unsafe for students, horses and volunteers. A covered arena would allow lessons to continue throughout every season and type of weather.

The mission of the faith-based facility is to aid in the healing of body, mind and soul through professionally designed and structured equine-assisted activities. Founder Jan Baldt volunteers her time, energy and years of expertise in training and riding horses to create a loving environment conducive to learning and having fun.

Support and contributions will enable the center to meet its goals and improve conditions for the riders. 

A disability doesn’t have to prevent a person from riding a horse. The simple, rhythmic motion of a horse’s gait can be therapeutic. Riders with physical disabilities show improvement in flexibility, balance and muscle strength. Horseback riding also provides recreational opportunities for individuals with emotional or cognitive challenges.

Benefits of equine therapy include building confidence and problem-solving skills, developing empathy and/or compassion, and increasing emotional awareness. It also teaches tolerance and patience, and improves fine and gross motor skills. Horseback riding can reduce stress and anxiety, and improve body awareness.

The simple act of taking care of a horse or even petting a horse has a deep and calming effect on one’s mind and body. One does not need to ride a horse to benefit from equine therapy.

Baldt created Sonshine three years ago. She started lessons for eight to 10 children a week. Now, Sonshine teaches 25 to 30 children a week and provides a summer camp opportunity for all kids ages 5 and up.

She is available to speak about Sonshine, its mission and therapeutic riding to community churches and civic groups. The center is run by all volunteers and it is always in need of those willing to lend a hand and learn about horses. Experience with horses is welcome but not necessary to volunteer. 

Sonshine Equine is a nonprofit organization serving the local community.

To make a donation, mail a check to Sonshine Equine, 31688 Yeshua Lane, Millsboro, DE 19966 or contact Jan Baldt at 302-858-1275.

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