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“Going to Heritage Hill Haven for the past 5 years has helped me in so many ways. It has helped me strengthen my core muscles, build my strength and give me much better posture. We were able to make improvements in a few weeks that I could not accomplish with months of regular therapy. In addition, I learned a lot about how to take care of something else, the HORSES. I have learned to take care for the horses, putting the tack on, and grooming them. It has taught me how to be responsible for something beyond myself. I have really discovered how much I love horses and the fact that my limited vision doesn’t stop me from doing what is exciting to me. More importantly, going to Heritage Hill Haven has built up my confidence and sense of self‐worth because I have done more than I ever thought possible. From leading the horses, to posting and trotting, these are things I did not realize I could do. I even helped lead a group on a horseback riding trip out West. I hope others can benefit from the great work of all of the volunteers and incredible horses that have made my life so much better.”

– Priya K., client, class of 2019

“Riding has increased my quality of life both physically & emotionally since my injury; it has given me confidence both on and off of the horse, inspired me to go back to school to finish my degree, …and has brought joy back into my life when I was hopeless.”

–  Camille S., client since 2008

“Our son was one of the first clients when MAC opened in 2006. Now as a young adult, he continues to improve his core muscle strength, coordination and balance. His increased self-confidence carries over to his everyday life and he looks forward to assisting as part of a life skills training program at MAC at Heritage Hill Haven.”

– Jan and Jim S., client’s parents

“The Center is a Godsend for so many people–both adults and children–with both visible and invisible disabilities. The staff is superbly trained, kind and gentle to clients, and the location is peaceful and welcoming. Hannah has been riding at the Michigan Abilities Center for several years now, and has handled everything from the smallest to the largest animal. My daughter’s self-confidence, physical coordination, listening ability, and self-discipline continue to improve.

At times she has had setbacks due to life’s challenges, but with guidance and encouragement from director and physical therapist Kathy Hinderer, the instructors, and her team of volunteers, Hannah has continued to work hard.  Aside from providing the psychological and physical benefits of equine assisted therapy, Kathy and volunteers at Michigan Abilities Center do their very best to support families of special needs children and adults.”

– Sandra G., client’s mother

“My daughter, Maddy, is 20 years old and has autism and cognitive delays. She also has anxiety and ADHD probably due to the autism. Over the years we have tried many different programs for Maddy, We didnʼt continue with these programs because Maddyʼs level of anxiety was so high that she would have meltdowns before we would go and afterward. This caused a lot of stress on our family. When I heard about therapeutic riding I did a lot of research and we ended up observing the MAC program. Maddy started equine-assisted therapy right away. She was anxious about getting on a horse, but once she did, she didnʼt want to get off. I began to notice each time Maddy rode that she was very focused and on on our way home, she was very relaxed with a smile on her face! Maddy has low muscle tone and this therapy has strengthened her core and leg muscles. It has helped her with balance and posture.”

Read more of Francine’s Testimonial

“Our son Andrew will be 11 years old in May.  He is on the autism spectrum and is only able to speak a few  words each day.  He has been going to MAC for three and a half years.  During that time we have seen many improvements.  He looks forward to going to therapy every Saturday morning.  Andrew has formed special bonds with many of the horses (he does have a couple favorites).  He has made many friends with the other clients. He also enjoys interacting with all the volunteers as they make him feel very special with their words of encouragement and praise. Since starting riding his sleep has improved and transitions have become smoother.”

Read More of Brian & Bridget F.’s Testimonial

“My child, Chris, who has Down Syndrome and autism, loves his lessons at MAC at the Haven. When I tell him that we are going to ride horses, his eyes light up and he gets the biggest smile. He has taken lessons at regular barns, but he did not receive the individualized, personalized lessons that he does here. His performance–speaking, being engaged–is always the highest after riding Tommy.  The staff and volunteers are excellent.”

– Carolyn O.,  client’s mother

“After watching my grandson do so well riding at MAC, I decided to give it a try and am so glad I did. I had problems with my right hip and my chiropractor couldn’t get it fixed even after multiple tries. But there is something in the way that MAC horses move that fixed it and the pain has not returned.  Besides fixing my hip, there is just something so wonderful about being around horses. I love to groom them or just watch them in the pasture. I always wanted a horse when I was a little girl and now that I’m over 60, I’m finally getting to be a cowgirl.  I cannot say enough positive things about the wonderful people at MAC. The volunteers treated me so kindly and are so patient as I’m not spry anymore. And the horses seem to know that too.”

– Carolyn O., client

Our son, Zander, has been horseback riding at the Michigan Abilities Center for about ten years. He has quadriplegic cerebral palsy and uses a power chair to get around. Hippotherapy makes his body feel better and helps him build core strength. Without hippotherapy, he wouldn’t be able to sit upright to see where he’s driving. There was a time when we stopped for a short while when our schedules were particularly busy. After about a month, we started getting notes from Zander’s teacher and therapists wondering what we had changed because he was suddenly much weaker. We knew then that hippotherapy had to be a consistent part of Zander’s life. Michigan Abilities Center has been a crucial part of his life and we’re grateful for the work of Kathy, the staff, volunteers, and wonderful therapy horses!” 

– Lori S. and Ryan B., client’s parents