Finding Freedom in Equine Therapy

Finding Freedom in Equine Therapy
June 30, 2021

The idea was simple: find a way to get out, be active and support her community.

Philippa Pinnington wasn’t sure exactly what she was looking for when she started searching for volunteer opportunities in her area, but the desire to work outside and a budding interest in horses eventually led her toward equine therapy.

The Lockheed Martin systems engineer dedicates her weekends to volunteering with Freedom Ride, a program providing therapeutic horseback riding and related activities for individuals with disabilities. 

“It definitely is rewarding to see students with special needs gain confidence over time during their lessons,” Philippa said. “Some of them are not able to direct the horse themselves but improve their posture, physical control and mood. They often become more talkative as they ride and are emotionally attached to their horse. Others learn to ride on their own which can bring them a lot of pride and newfound confidence.”

Alongside supporting instructors during their lessons, Philippa also assists with animal care by cleaning and grooming the horses, leading them to pasture, cleaning stalls and replenishing hay and shavings for the stalls.

Before her involvement with Freedom Ride, Philippa had little experience working with horses or individuals with disabilities, but she values the opportunity and encourages others to become a part of the program as well.

“It’s a great experience if you enjoy being out in nature, don’t mind getting your hands dirty and love animals,” she said. “Even if totally new to working with horses or disabled people, the staff and instructors are attentive and provide hands-on direction to get you up to speed.”

Philippa is one of 114,000 Lockheed Martin employees making positive impacts on their communities through volunteerism. In 2019, Lockheed Martin employees recorded around 500,000 hours of service.

“I was drawn to Lockheed Martin for opportunities to apply new technologies that will change the world,” she said.

Philippa celebrated one year with Lockheed Martin in February, coming aboard as a systems engineer with Missiles and Fire Control where she supports a development program.

She said, “My career here has been very rewarding, as I am constantly learning and tackling new challenges.”

Discover the ways in which you can inspire meaningful change in your community at Lockheed Martin.