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Ever wonder about Therapeutic Riding…what it is and what it consists of?
Therapeutic riding is used for people who have a physician’s statement that it is safe for them to ride, thus the disabilities served range from developmental delay (both physical and intellectual), cerebral palsy and other neurological disorders and conditions, multiple sclerosis and other degenerative diseases, post-stroke, spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries, and many others.
A TR session is just like a regular riding lesson with modifications!
A leader might be assigned to lead the horse; one or two side walkers might need to accompany the rider – or an individual might be an independent rider. Almost all sessions involve some volunteers who may be spotters and help set up the arena.
The emphasis in twofold: to learn riding skills as allowed by the nature of each individual’s challenges, and to have fun and experience becoming an equestrian – thus creating a bond between rider and horse in exactly the same way as any of us enjoy riding and love our horses. This is a very powerful experience for people who may have to use a wheelchair, or be in special education classes, or have some other challenge that makes them different from “normal” people – either in their own experience or as visible to the outside world.
Lessons have group objectives and each individual has a set of long term goals. A lesson plan is created for each lesson. Lessons typically involve warm up for both horse and rider, then review of old skills, and then learning or practicing new skills – often a trail ride is incorporated, games and various exercise are used to reinforce the learning of the skills chosen
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