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The Equestrian Therapy Program has been touching lives in our eleven-county area since 1982. Our non-profit charitable corporation is a premier center accredited by Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH). Our Instructors receive specialized training and certification which enables them to provide our students with activities that exercise the spirit, as well as the mind and body.
Who Do We Help?
Riding has proven effective as recreational therapy in the treatment of various disabilities including but not limited to:
|Autism Spectrum||Hearing Impaired|
|CVA (stroke)||Head Trauma (brain injury)|
|Cerebral Palsy||Muscular Dystrophy|
|Down Syndrome||Sight Impaired|
|Mental Retardation||Spina Bifida|
|Multiple Sclerosis||TBI (brain injury)|
|Parkinson Disease||SID (sensory integration)|
|PDD (pervasive development disorder)||Various Syndromes|
Our riders, who range in age from 4 through adult, benefit greatly from their riding therapy which is particularly beneficial for those with impaired motor function. The horse’s walk is a multi-dimensional, rhythmic and symmetrical gait that works one side of the student’s body, then the other, causing the pelvis to work both back and forth, side to side and up and down, just as it would if the rider were walking in the normal manner on the ground. This helps the rider maintain the proper postural alignment while stimulating the correct muscles. Through the motion of the horse, individuals with disabilities experience greater self-awareness, increased attention span and improved balance, coordination, muscle tone and physical condition. Our horses are marvelously mobile therapeutic machines.
Riding gives a tremendous boost to self-image, especially for those with learning disabilities and developmental delays which involve various perception problems. “Wow, I can do it!” – a tremendous feeling that they can do something as well if not better than anyone else. For many, this is the first time in their lives that they’ve felt this way.
Provides Love and Reassurance
For the emotionally impaired, the fuzzy and friendly quality of horses serves a marvelous purpose. The petting, grooming and mounting – all on a horse who stands quietly – then riding in a safe environment, surrounded by people who are caring and friendly, provides a reassuring basis for developmental gains.
Many of our students are able to learn to mount, walk, trot, do all the exercises, dismount, “run up the irons” and put the horse away. For many, riding becomes the most important part of their lives and their interest in horses provides new incentives for learning. Their vocabulary increases and they develop a desire to learn more about horses. Our four-legged friends do more than carry our riders, they inspire the heart.
Classes are held at Fassett Farm, which is owned by The Equestrian Therapy Program. Riders enjoy both indoor and outdoor arenas as well as woods and trails. Our classes are approximately an hour in length. We also provide Hippotherapy which is a treatment that uses the multidimensional movement of the horse. A trained physical, occupational or speech therapist works one on one with the client using the horse as the therapeutic tool.
Our Program runs year- round with four sessions a year: spring, summer, fall and winter. Our students are referred to us through area hospitals, schools, therapists, physicians and individually.
Not only are our four-legged friends important but, equally important, are our two-legged friends, YOU! The volunteer is the backbone of our Program and we could not exist without them!
Visitors are always welcome, but must be accompanied by a staff member so please call first to arrange a time for a visit. We love having visitors and sharing the wonderful magic that occurs at The Equestrian Therapy Program.