Therapeutic Riding is a form of adaptive riding promotes the development of life skills for educational, professional and personal goals through equine-assisted activities. At TROT, we use activities on horseback to positively contribute to the physical, cognitive, emotional, and social well-being of individuals with special needs.
Horseback riding provides strong sensory stimulation to muscles and joints, affects the balance and movement sense detected by sensory receptors, and provides varied sensory experiences through guided activities. Individuals living with special needs not only benefit from the motor, emotional, and sensory sensations that come from riding a horse, but the emotional and healing bond of using a horse for therapy. Therapeutic Riding is highly beneficial to individuals of all ages as research has shown to develop natural core skills needed to successfully and independently function in society.
TROT’s therapeutic riding program teaches horseback-riding skills, while using therapeutic activities tailored to each individual’s educational, physical, social, and recreational goals. These goals are desired and achievable life goals that enhance their quality of life, such as riding a bicycle, transferring from a wheelchair to a desk at school, making a friend, fixing dinner or walking across the stage to receive a diploma. In teaching riding and horsemanship in a therapeutic setting, the instructor creates an auditory, visual and kinetic learning environment containing many of the same components needed to perform parallel skills in everyday life with success.
Each weekly session is creatively planned and implemented around each student’s life goals and matching them with appropriately selected riding skills practiced during fun activities. It is the priority of the instructors to ensure the safety of all riders, volunteers, and staff in this environment while facilitating independence and development of those life skills.
Group participation such as those experienced at TROT can lead children to become more tolerant of new events improve at following multi-step directions, understanding expectations, and learn kindness and empathy toward others and animals. The empowering freedom of therapeutic riding, the interaction with instructors and volunteers, and the rich sensory environment of the TROT property provide a unique and beneficial resource for each student. Teachers and parents recognize the TROT program as a conduit to improved physicality, balance, muscle strength, emotional and mood regulation, focus, self-esteem, and the increased use of language and cognitive skills.