Camelot Rehabilitates Disabled Scottsdale Residents by Horseback
Horse riding is a popular activity among Arizona residents, especially for this young Scottsdale fourth grader. Being a 10 year old with cerebral palsy can really limit the types of activity Claudia Rank can do. She usually is in a wheelchair, but is able to ride horses thanks to a local therapeutic horsemanship program called Camelot.
Founder Eileen Szychowski began the organization on a privately funded location in Scottsdale. She started with $100,000 and two horses named Guinevere and Janik. Szychowski was also a woman with a disability and was determined to fight for her love of riding her mares. Now retired, she still helps with the programs and ensures the staff is knowledgeable of the mission of the organization.
Today, Camelot continues to help disabled individuals like Claudia learn how to overcome their fears. Beth Rank, her mother, feels that this programs is wonderful for kids with limitations. “Claudia feels so comfortable with the staff and volunteers that she tells them personal stories that I as her mom don’t even hear about,” Rank said in an AZCentral.com article. “I love that she has a place to go that cherishes her as much as I do.”
Each person is given an hour-and-a-half private lesson, which allows students extra time to bond with the horses. Participants are not charged any fees and can enjoy the ranch for as long as they like. Mary Hadsall is the executive director at Camelot, and the only full-time employee for the past 12 years.
“Horses are the perfect animals for this experience because horses have an innate ability to react to humans and are so quick to provide emotional support,” Hadsall said in the recent article. They have about 35 to 40 volunteers that come and help out the students every week.
For more information on the Camelot horse rehabilitation program, go online to www.camelotaz.org or call 480-515-1542. Thanks to this nonprofit, many people with disabilities have “improved strength, balance, coordination and self-esteem”, according to the Camelot mission statement.