Our purpose is to enhance the lives of individuals who have special needs through equine assisted activities and therapies while teaching the sport of horsemanship. Therapeutic Riding provides healthy exercise while building skills, allowing each individual to be successful by focusing on their accomplishments.
Today the Exceptional Riders Program serves riders of all ages who have physical, emotional, and cognitive disabilities.
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 snowcapped 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
What is Therapeutic Riding?
Therapeutic riding is the use of horse and horseback riding activities 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 recognized 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’ spirits 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.
One of the biggest benefits is a sense of accomplishment and independence. For some it may be the first time they can be mobile and independent of other people and mechanical aids. It may be the only time there is calm inside when they are horseback riding. Courage, confidence, strength not only physical but emotional all thrive when you are around horses. Teaching the sport of Horsemanship is not just riding a horse. It’s teaching respect for the horse, their ability to touch your soul and heal it.
Which becomes an extension of respect for the students of themselves and others. The best part of this explanation is that the kids don’t know or care about the process because they are having fun being kids loving being around the horses. Learning how to ride, grooming means to brush your horse, what tacking your horse means. These are the easy steps for success for all of our students. This is the groundwork for their success and we get to be part of that process. How wonderful and lucky we are!