Exceptional Riders Program

Therapeutic Riding


I cannot walk or run or play a game of tennis everyday. I cannot dance or ride a bike. I'll never know what skating's like. I have no soccer boots or ball, they are no use to me at all. I'll never ski the waves or snow, so many thrills I'll never know. I'll never sail the wind or surf, nor climb the snow capped peaks above, so many things I'll never love.


But I can ride through forest trails to see the fox and rabbit tails, and watch the geese and ducks take flight, while leaping stags and deer take fright. And I can follow mountain tracks, past climbers weighted down with packs, to trace a river to its source, astride the broad back of a horse. Yes, I enjoy the "sport of kings" when carried high my feet take wings. To fly me on a pleasure course, for I can mount and ride a horse.

Written by a student.


What is therapeutic riding?

Therapeutic riding is the use of horse and horsback riding activies to achieve a variety of therapeutic goals for the student. These areas include physical, emotional, social, cognitive, and behavioral goals.

Therapeutic riding is practiced in some form in most countries in the world and was reconized even in ancient civilizations as beneficial for persons with special needs.

Special needs individuals often deal with a lack of confidence. The concept of therapeutic riding is based on the idea that if you can put the person in a situation where they are doing something that other people can do, and something many others cannot do, the level of self- confidence will dramatically improve. When on horseback, one feels "ten feet tall" and the students' spirtits soar. For some it may be the first time they can be mobile and independent of other people and mechanical aids. In addition to the obvious emotional benefits of the program, horseback riding also offers an excellent means for physical therapy and occupational therapy.