Horse Sense and Sensitivity

The Navigator

Photo by: Grace Singer

Horse Sense and Sensitivity is a volunteer group that helps people through the use of alternative therapies. It is located at the Boys’ Home Association and Families Services, which neighbors the Jacksonville University campus.

The Boys’ Home offers Family Foster Care and Specialized Therapeutic Foster Care programs. It helps troubled youth, families and children with special needs and disabilities through the use of alternative therapies.

When the Department of Children and Families removes children from their home due to neglect or abuse, the children are placed at the Boys’ Home. The center expanded in 1997 and now accepts boys and girls. Children often enter the foster care system with physical and emotional needs that are addressed through the services offered at the Boys’ Home.

A major therapy utilized at the Boys’ Home is hippotherapy. Hippotherapy is a form of physical, occupational and speech therapy. The goal of hippotherapy is to improve neurological function.

Horse Sense and Sensitivity is mainly run through the use of volunteers. The volunteers help care for the horses and participate in the therapy sessions as assistants to the therapists.

Volunteers are integral before, during and after the therapy sessions. Volunteers groom and tack the horses prior to the class. During the classes, volunteers serve as horse-handlers and side-walkers to ensure the safety of the riders. They can also help cleaning up the property and care for the horses after the sessions. Sponsors can provide payment for the therapy sessions for children and adults and for the care of the horses.

Horse Sense and Sensitivity welcomes two new instructors to the organization, Jennifer Yudow and Pam Dent. Yudow is a graduate of Jacksonville University. Dent is a certified counselor who has volunteered at the Boys’ Home for over a year.

The organization also welcomes Mandy, the Boys’ Home’s newest horse. Mandy is thirteen hands tall, which measures 52 inches tall. Mandy is also thirteen years old.

Classes at Horse Sense and Sensitivity were not held during this summer but are now starting again. The first fall classes started on August 30, 2011. The classes run in the afternoons and last for 45 minutes each.

If volunteer hours are required for graduation, students can always volunteer next door at the Boys’ Home. Students can learn more about this program through the Service Learning Office in the Gooding Building.

The Boys’ Home is always welcome to volunteers, donors and sponsors. Any type of volunteering, donating, or sponsoring would be greatly appreciated.