Therapeutic riding is horseback riding for the disabled.  It combines instruction in traditional horsemanship skills with concepts of physical therapy to improve the strength, balance and self-esteem of physically and mentally disabled children and adults. 

To an individual with a disability, horseback riding takes them into a new, unexplored work, which provides a sense of independence and freedom that defies their disability.  Therapeutic riding challenges the riders in ways they have seldom been challenged before.. and they love every minute of it!

With therapeutic riding come improved coordination, muscle strength, joint mobility, perceptual skills and self confidence.  The opportunity to work with a horse, to groom and help saddle it are very real sources of excitement and pride.  Moreover, each step a horse takes requires the riders to use their muscles to maintain balance and their minds to work to guide the horse. 

Almost every disabled person can benefit from therapeutic riding. Major benefits have been seen of the riders with cerebral palsy, mental retardation, autism, brain injury, stroke, learning disorders and emotional problems.  

The ultimate goal of therapeutic riding is to encourage lifelong leisure activities and to promote physical heath and self-esteem which help further integrate the disabled individual into the community.  The natural affinity between people and animals has proven a powerful ay of enabling our riders to achieve their full potential and the unconditional love and friendship offered by our horses is a great benefit to all. photo of rider

The Smith Center for therapeutic riding.  This site contains success stories, a heart-grabbing poem, and descriptive information about therapeutic riding. This is the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association website.  It gives information on therapeutic riding, and it also illustrates how an association such as this one functions.    

A touching story....

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