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story.lead_photo.caption Megan Smits General Manager Horses for Healing

Megan Smits

General Manager

Barn Dance

Who: Horses for Healing

What: Dinner, entertainment, silent auction, horse riding demonstrations

When: 5 p.m. Oct. 13

Where: Horses for Healing in Bentonville

Tickets: $100 or $900 for a table for 10

Attire: Cowboy and cowboy chic

Information: (479) 795-0570 or horsesforhealingnwa.org

Horses for Healing

Tell us about your organization:

Mission: Horses for Healing's mission is to improve the lives of people with special needs through therapeutic riding programs, with an emphasis on children. Programs are provided regardless of ability to pay.

Services provided: We specialize in therapeutic horsemanship, which means not only working on riding skills, but also horse care and handling. In addition to the therapeutic horsemanship program, we offer boarding as well as hunter/jumper and dressage lessons. Some of our therapeutic riders have made such strides in their horse education that they have progressed to the hunter/jumper or dressage programs, and we make sure to have integrated lessons, so children with and without special needs are participating together. Our goal is to teach to a child's abilities, not to their disabilities.

Service area: Northwest Arkansas primarily, but if you have the ability to get to our farm, we'd love to meet you!

Average number of people served annually: On average approximately 450 to 500.

How is your organization's mission unique? Horses for Healing offers recreational adaptive horsemanship to children by providing person-centered lesson programs, which work on progressive skill-building. The lessons are challenging, yet offer students opportunities for success. While many programs offer chances for growth in children with special needs, because we work with horses, we see tremendous changes in our children due to the nature of horses. Truly, the horses are our best teachers.

Why do you work for a nonprofit organization? Do you have a personal connection to the mission? If so, what is it? I still pinch myself that I'm lucky enough to work in a field that I'm passionate about. As a rider, I get to share my passion for horses with others. It really is a perfect fit!

Being able to spend my days with fabulous children, amazing horses and an incredible team makes me feel so fulfilled, I can't imagine doing anything else. I have spent time working in other industries (sales driven) and always felt that the purpose was to fill a business owner's wallet. By working at Horses for Healing, my purpose is to fill a child's heart. The value of what I get to do for work can't be measured.

What part of your job fills the most of your time? Every day is so different from one moment to the next, there isn't usually one aspect that fills my day most. Some days are spent with longer hours at my desk, while other days I'm able to be teaching more often in the arena. Being on a farm allows for a lot of variability during the day, which I love.

What challenges face your organization? As with most nonprofits, funding and manpower are always needs for our organization. With about 500 children served each year, and if every child on average needs at least one volunteer, that's a lot of helpers we need at the farm! We also are funded completely from the generosity of our community. If you would like to get involved or make a donation, please contact us at the farm by emailing megan@horsesforhealingnwa.org.

Are there volunteer opportunities in your organization? What are they? There are a myriad of ways to get involved! If you're interested in helping, please contact our volunteer coordinator Elaine Wall at Elaine@horsesforhealingnwa.org.

What upcoming fundraisers and other events does your organization have planned? Oct. 13 at 5 p.m. is our annual Barn Dance, and we're so excited for this year's event! horsesforhealingnwa.org/barn-dance-2018.

-- Carin Schoppmeyer

cschoppmeyer@nwadg.com

NAN Profiles on 09/16/2018

Print Headline: Personified

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