WHAT IS THERAPEUTIC RIDING ?

Horse riding as therapy is equally appropriate for those with mental and physical challenges as it is for very young riders, those who need to boost their confidence, those who return to the sport after many years, and those who have developed an interest in riding in mature years. Research conducted by the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA), now known as Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH Int'l), shows that therapeutic techniques can promote mental, physical, and emotional rewards!

Because the horse's gait most closely approximate a human’s, therapeutic riding gently and rhythmically moves the rider's body in a fashion that enhances muscle strength, balance, and flexibility. For individuals facing emotional or mental challenges, the discipline, companionship, and routine of the partnership between horse and rider helps promote self-esteem, patience, and confidence. Virtually all riders, with or without special challenges, find that horseback riding fosters independence. The therapeutic benefits of riding are acknowledged by many medical professions, including the American Physical Therapy Association and the American Occupational Therapy Association. Increasingly, insurance plans offer partial, if not full, reimbursement for therapy conducted by an certified instructor in an accredited facility.

The roughly 700 Operating Centers of the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association, now known as Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH Int'l), run the gamete from small, personalized, private farms where one or two instructors use their own horses and direct their own programs, to large corporations, led by Boards of Directors, employing dozens of horses and instructors, with a hundred or more volunteers. In all, NARHA, PATH Int'l., riding centers encompass more than 35,000 volunteers, 2,515 instructors, 5,500 equines, and 600+ therapists.

Why and how therapeutic riding works: empathy! Click Here for Photos!

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Photo Credit: Carol Rae Hansen, 2008 All rights reserved


Photo Credit: Carol Rae Hansen, 2008 All rights reserved

In memory of Smokey, an Appendix Quarter Horse Gelding, kindly loaned by Siobhan O'Brian

God forbid that I shall go to any heaven where there are no horses. R. B. Cunningham-Graham

Photo Credit: Carol Rae Hansen, 2008 All rights reserved

In memory of Junior and all our feline ambassadors

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