August 1, 2016

One year ago, Move a Child Higher, Inc. (MACH 1) and its founder, Joy Rittenhouse, only dreamed of expanding the nonprofit’s therapeutic equestrian services to help a larger number of disabled youths and wounded warriors in the Pasadena area.

The center provides therapeutic equestrian services for disabled youths. Photo courtesy Kelley Radtke.

Then last spring, a DPR-led community service project delivered a significantly expanded new facility – which in turn triggered new donations and grants that are helping the 18-year-old organization broaden its services and outreach, and double the number of clients it serves.

The newly-built out center has allowed MACH 1 to ramp up its services, and invest in additional therapy horses. Photo courtesy Kelley Radtke.

Since the project was completed, MACH 1 has been ramping up its service potential with the acquisition of three additional horses, bringing the total number of therapeutic horses to eight. In the coming months, Rittenhouse said they will add and train additional volunteer staff, with plans to double the number of children and veterans in its horse therapy program within the next year or so.

They have also launched a new horsemanship program designed to introduce students to horses and horse safety, and they continue to operate as a teaching center, providing ongoing classes to students at Cal State LA, Western University and Azusa Pacific. Where their previous space allowed them to operate 11 hours a week, they are now a full time organization.

“It’s really difficult to explain how much this project has meant to us,” Rittenhouse said. “We were borrowing a place, and now we have an actual center. We received two grants to get two horses and another general grant to work on scholarships and to help us launch our horsemanship program. We never would have gotten them without the new center and the added space.”