Pasadena non-profit Move A Child Higher (MACH 1) is using horses to help people with disabilities heal physically and emotionally.
The non-profit, located in the Equestrian Center in the Hahamongna Watershed Park, offers services that incorporate therapeutic horsemanship, equine-assisted learning, and equine-assisted therapy for students with disabilities.
These programs take place in a beautiful environment under the oak trees in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains.
Speaking to Pasadena Now, Board Member Matt Hourihan said MACH 1 currently uses five horses, one of which is a retired Los Angeles Police Department horse, and one donkey, for therapy purposes.
At MACH 1, certified professional instructors and participants work together to attain desired physical, cognitive and emotional goals for people dealing with physical or mental health problems, said Hourihan.
“My daughter, Katie Hourihan, once volunteered at MACH 1. I dropped her off there and watched a child walk into the program looking like he was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders,” Hourihan recalled.
“When the same child left he had a huge smile as he stood up straight with his hands waving in the air. His experience at MACH 1 completely transformed him.”
Board Member Patricia Casado calls MACH 1 “the soul of Pasadena” because the organization, she said, takes care of horses in conjunction with helping people.
The non-profit began operations at the Flintridge Riding Club in La Cañada Flintridge in 1996.
It was founded by Joy Rittenhouse, a longtime Pasadena resident, who, after having polio as a child, found healing through riding and caring for horses.
Casado and Hourihan called on the public to help support MACH 1’s mission by volunteering or donating funds so it can continue to bring self confidence, physical strength, and emotional well being to people through its equine-assisted services.
“The horses require feeding, grooming, and regular veterinary visits. Any gift from $5.00 to $5,000 is greatly appreciated by everyone involved with the program,” said Hourihan.
For more information on how to volunteer or donate, visit: https://moveachildhigher.org/
MACH 1 is an official partner of The McCourt Foundation’s Rose Bowl 5K & Half Marathon on January 16, 2022.