THERAPEUTIC RIDING

Our Therapeutic Riding program engages children and adults, in working with horses in order to improve an array of skills. Our program director works with our students to focus on key areas for growth.  Children and adults build a relationship with the animals, the instructor, and volunteers / staff and peers. Contact us now for more information on how you can get started today!

 

 

BENEFITS OF THERAPEUTIC RIDING

The physical attributes and nature of the horse present an ideal opportunity to impact individuals with all levels of abilities and in all realms of growth and learning.  A horse’s three-dimensional gait provides a movement unparalleled for therapeutic benefit to the rider with a physical disability.  The movements stimulate the rider’s trunk and pelvis in a manner that closely resembles the normal gait of the human walk.  This input produces specific physical changes in the rider and promotes normalization of tone, postural improvements, improvements in balance and increased strength.  The attraction of the horse and the opportunity to bond with this gentle giant also provides motivation and encouragement to riders with emotional and or psychological disabilities.  When clients realize that a real relationship exists between them and their horse, quality programming can nurture the development of life skills like responsibility, honesty, and respect.  Some of the benefits we have observed for our clients:

 

PHYSICAL:

  • spinal stimulation
  • sensory integration
  • movement exploration
  • awareness of body in space
  • motor control, fine and gross
  • postural alignment – dynamic and static
  • postural control
  • balance
  • coordination
  • endurance/fitness
  • normalization of muscle tone
  • oral motor control
  • respiratory control
  • visual/spatial orientation
  • dexterity
  • increased muscle strength
  • vestibular input

 

EMOTIONAL:

  • motivation
  • ability to face challenges/risk-taking
  • improved self-esteem
  • decision making skills or “making choices”
  • goal setting
  • hopefulness
  • intuition
  • mood
  • regulation
  • safety awareness
  • empowerment
  • sense of control

 

SOCIAL:

  • teamwork
  • caregiving
  • empathy
  • cooperation
  • leadership
  • independence
  • partnership
  • respect
  • vocational exploration
  • trust
  • interpersonal relationships
  • patience

 

COGNITIVE:

  • sequencing
  • executive functioning
  • judgment
  • problem solving
  • memory development
  • following multi-step directions
  • self expression
  • task completion
  • insight
  • attention to task
  • decision making

 

SPIRITUAL:

  • participation with nature
  • connection with animals/people
  • mindfulness

 

Growth and achievement in one area is likely to affect growth and achievement in other areas.  For example, a client who gains strength in his/her trunk muscles can expend less energy on maintaining their balance, thereby enabling the client to turn their attention to taking a deep breath to speak clearly to their peers, focus totally on the problem at hand, or observe the world around them.  Client needs and abilities are assessed before beginning the riding experience and on an ongoing basis, allowing the instructor to structure the lesson to promote the most successful outcome for each student.