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What is Therapeutic Riding?

 

Therapeutic Riding or Hippotherapy is a widely accepted method of improving the physical and mental well-being of people with special needs. Hippotherapy comes from the Greek words for horse and cure.

 

Riding provides general exercise, recreation and sense of achievement.   In addition, riding provides independence from artificial aids such as crutches and wheelchairs allowing access over uneven ground, into fields and forest where new sights, sounds and smells stimulate the senses.

 

The aims of therapeutic riding include balance improvement, coordination development, mobilization of stiff joints, development of weak muscles, prevention of contractures, improvement of circulation, relaxation of spasticity, development of self-esteem and independence, and recreation.   Additional benefits include improved learning, concentration, spatial awareness and overall relaxation of the body and the mind.

 

Why not check out an important factor in creating the therapeutic riding benefits. It is Connecting with Horses.

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Pennies for Ponies Program

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VTEA Therapeutic Horseback Riding for special kids

These aims are achieved as the rider experiences the rhythmic swinging motions of the horse, (also known as “Hippotherapy”) as the horse is led around the arena, pastures and trails of the Farm.

 

Each new rider is required to have a referral from their medical doctor.   VTEA’s Consulting Physiotherapist does an initial assessment and creates a unique riding program in conjunction with VTEA Instructors.   These programs are designed to meet the physical needs of the individual.   Special or adapted equipment may be used and one-on-one instruction and riding volunteers are organized to assist with each lesson.  

 

Some of the more common disabilities suitable for therapeutic riding lessons include:   Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis, Autism, Arthritis, Limb Absence, Scoliosis, Spina Bifida, Epilepsy, Brain Injury, Developmental Disabilities, Down’s Syndrome, Dwarfism, Blindness, Hearing and Speech Impediments, various Social or Emotional conditions and Learning Disabilities.   This is not a complete list.   If you wish to learn more, please contact VTEA and the Staff will be glad to get you the information you need!