What is Therapeutic Riding?
Therapeutic riding is a recreational equine-assisted activity that teaches horsemanship skills to people with disabilities. However, while recreational, it is also goal-oriented which contributes positively to rider’s cognitive, physical, emotional and social well-being.
Using a horse provides many therapeutic benefits to our participants, but one of the most amazing benefits is that the horse’s gait pattern is the closest mimic to a human’s gait pattern available (both naturally and manmade). This means that riding a horse rhythmically moves the rider’s body in a manner similar to a human gait. Riders with physical disabilities benefit from this movement by showing improvements in flexibility, balance, and muscle strength.
Throughout their weekly lessons, riders are often assisted by side-walkers as well as a certified therapeutic riding instructor (certified by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship Intl.). Their certification means that they have strong equine background as well as an understanding of various disabilities.
Our Therapeutic Riding Program is also sometimes used as a transition for patients who have “graduated” from our Occupational, Physical, or Speech Therapy Programs. It’s a great way to keep them engaged with equines and the farm rich environment, to maintain the gains that they made in therapy, and to actually learn some horsemanship skills (since this is not taught in therapy).
In the video , you will get to meet Amy and her instructor Verena. You will see firsthand what a therapeutic riding lesson looks like and the types of impacts it can have on a rider.
It is our privilege to get to serve the individuals that we do every day, and our privilege to get to witness them blossom before our eyes.
Right now (through April 22) you can get your donation matched to help our Therapeutic Riding Program through the Community Foundation Run. It’s the best time all year to donate.