The initial goal of Possum Snout Arena is to
provide families with wholesome horse-related
activities that offered a healthy sense of
competition to develop friendships.
Somewhere along the way our family
experienced a calling to provide the same
opportunities to those affected with challenges
- whether they are financial, physical,
emotional, mental or drug related - whether
adult or adolescence.
The participants and volunteers with Rachel's
Wish Foundation are firm believers that
proactive involvement with youth is the key to
preventing drug abuse, teenage pregnancy and
high school drop outs. We also believe that
people involved with animals have a better
understanding of respect and relationships.
We now provide services at no cost to
Tanner Behavioral Health Equine Riding Clinic
The Learning Tree - whose facilities provide
long term housing for individuals
afflicted with brain disorders through injury or
Adult and youth with handicaps - including
wheelchair bound - riding therapy
You tell us your need and if we have the
ability to help, you will learn, wishes
do come true - just as they did for Rachel.
For most of us...
The idea for becoming parents is an exciting
time. We hope for a healthy child
with ten fingers and toes and a great
personality. Our gaol as parents is to
provide for our children, guide them to
make good decisions and create
memories that last a lifetime, and fulfill
their wishes as best as we can.
Possum Snout Arena was built in 2000 to
host family fun horse shows. That is when
Rachel Smith from Ranburne, AL.
Rachel was born with Spina Bifida and was
confined to a wheelchair. She
became our inspiration. All Rachel wanted
to do was ride a horse just like
everyone else. She was our first calling to
provide the same opportunity to
others. Although Rachel is no longer with
us, she left us with our mission to
make others dreams come true. She
continues to be our inspiration as do the
others we work with.
It never ceases to amaze when you watch
the reactions on a
child's face when they begin relating to a
Article from "For the Kids, Winter 2007".
"I felt so proud the first time I got up on that horse, nothing could spoil my day or even my whole week! A
horse is a good buddy ... you can talk to him all day."
That quotation from Kids Peace kid Leabert speaks volumes about the self-confidence and trust that can be
gained from a new equine program being offered to kids at Kids Peace Bowdon, Georgia, campus. Under the
direction of a licensed therapist, kids visit a nearby horse farm once a week where they learn the basics of
equestrian care, training, and riding.
"The experience of learning to control a 1,200-pound beast is an empowering one," says Jan Lizotte, program
manager. The program also draws parallels between horse and human behavior so that kids learn about
themselves in the process.
During one afternoon session that Jan recalls, the therapist talked about the separation anxiety that foals
sometimes suffer when their mothers are moved into another pen. The therapist explained how that mirrors
some of the kids' own experiences.
By learning to care for the horses, the kids grow used to animals' large size, gradually overcoming any fears
as they build a trusting relationship.
Buddy and Sandra Floyd, husband and wife, own and operate the 82-acre horse farm in western Georgia
where they keep about 20 horses. They built the Possum Snout Arena on their property just for "fun shows."
One of the families that attended regularly had a little girl, Rachel, who was struggling with a number of
disabilities. The idea came to the Floyds to offer her a
chance to ride horses like the other kids, despite her physical challenges. Out of this experience, the
Rachel's Wish Foundation was born at Possum Snout Foundation was born at Possum Snout to raise and
support an equestrian program for kids who face various difficulties.
"Our mission is to offer free equine opportunities to any child working to overcome a challenge," Sandra
says. The program is beneficial to Kids Peace kids who have abandonment, attachment, or trust issues,
according to Jan. The intention
is that the kids take what they learn from building relationships with the horses and apply those lessons to
relationships with people. Kids and staff must commit to the entire six-week program.
One of the team building activities involves two riders, each of whom holds a different end of the same
four-foot piece of toilet paper as they ride in the same direction, trying not to let the paper tear.
Some of the boys and girls who completed the six-week equestrian program enjoyed the experience so much
that they now volunteer at the farm on Sundays to help the physically challenged kids.
Our experience really bears out the proven benefits of working with animals in therapeutic situations," says
Jan. Article from "The Times Georgian" By John P. Boan.