About Therapeutic Riding (EAAT)

IMG_1111Therapeutic riding uses equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAAT) for the purpose of contributing positively to cognitive, physical, emotional and social well-being of people with a wide range of disabilities.

Throughout the world, there are thousands of individuals with special needs who experience the special bond that is established between horse and rider. The movement of a horse stimulates the body and works the muscles of the rider in a manner similar to the human stride.  This repetitive motion cannot be duplicated by machines or in physical therapy. Careful matching of horse and rider is done to maximize the benefit of this movement. Our therapeutic riding instructors complete a comprehensive certification process that requires them to demonstrate their riding abilities, horsemanship, knowledge of disabilities and proper teaching techniques. Using this expertise, they match horse and rider and prepare detailed lesson plans designed to enhance the physical, cognitive and emotional well-being of our riders.

Riders participate in weekly group lessons lead by a certified therapeutic riding instructor.  Volunteers serve as “leaders” and “sidewalkers” to provide physical and emotional support.  The benefits of riding include the following:

  • Strengthening and toning muscles
  • Improving balance and flexibility
  • Enhancing head control and eye/hand coordination
  • Strengthening communication skills (speaking and listening)
  • Improving concentration, patience and self-esteem
  • Increasing compassion and sense of belonging

A disability does not have to limit a person from riding horses. In addition to the therapeutic benefits, horseback riding also provides recreational opportunities for individuals with disabilities to enjoy the outdoors.

Therapeutic riding has proved to be beneficial for the following:

Neurological Disorders:
• Cerebral Palsy
• Multiple Sclerosis
• Spina Bifida
• Muscular Dystrophy
• Epilepsy
• Tourettes
Orthopedic Disabilities:
• Amputation
• Arthritis
• Osteoporosis
• Scoliosis
Developmental Disabilities:
• Autism
• Intellectual Disability
• Learning Disabilities
• Down Syndrome
• Asperger’s
Acquired Disabilities:
• Cancer
• Spinal Cord Injury
• Traumatic Brain Injury
• Alzheimer’s Disease
• CVA/Stroke
Sensory Issues:
• Sensory Integration Disorders
• Visual Impairments (Blindness)
• Hearing Impairments (Deafness)
• Autism
Mental Health Issues (Social-Emotional Disorders):
• Depression
• Abuse
• Bi-polar disorder
• Youth at risk
• Anxiety Disorder