Our therapeutic riding program’s main focus is to teach horseback-riding skills, while using therapeutic activities tailored to individual rider’s needs. These lessons are designed specifically for riders with physical and cognitive disabilities. Group lessons are structured with four riders in a class, each taught by a certified riding instructor. These small group mounted therapeutic riding lessons take place simultaneously in our large covered 100’ x 200’ arena for a 1-hour session which includes time to mount and dismount riders. Some riders, if they are interested, may go back to the barn to help untack and groom their horse.
Therapeutic riding develops small and gross motor skills, problem-solving abilities, teaches important emotional and physical processes, and builds social connection between riders and their instructors, volunteers, and other riders. Riders often do not realize they are gaining therapeutic benefits because they are having so much fun!
Experiencing the motion of a horse is therapeutic because horseback riding rhythmically moves the rider’s body in a manner similar to the human gait. Riders with physical disabilities regularly show improvement in flexibility, balance, and muscle strength. In addition to the therapeutic benefits, horseback riding also provides recreational opportunities for individuals to enjoy the outdoors.
Horseback riding activities also encourage stretching and strengthening of underused or underdeveloped muscles, improve posture and coordination, help develop gross and fine motor skills, increase the rider’s awareness of his or her body and improve range of motion. In addition, riders with disabilities increase their self-esteem and self-confidence and increase their ability to focus and stay on task.