Therapeutic Riding Program

Therapeutic Riding is the use of horses and equine-oriented activities for the purpose of contributing positively to the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social well being of people with disabilities.  Both the American Physical Therapy Association and American Occupational Therapy Association recognize the therapeutic qualities of riding.

Therapeutic Riding has been shown to be helpful in a variety of aspects:

  • A horse’s gait emulates that of a human’s and gently and rhythmically moves a rider’s body in a manner comparable to walking, allowing the rider to practice correct walking movement
  • A horse’s body temperature is four to five degrees higher than a human; the extra warmth reduces spasticity and stretches the rider’s muscles, empowering the rider with a sense of control over his or her own body and the environment
  • Research shows a mental health benefit for people with pets and riding allows participants to bond with an animal intimately
  • Social interaction with instructors, therapists, volunteers, other clients and animals are all important aspects of the therapy
  • Results include and are not limited to: Increased strength and balance, Improved circulation and respiration, Normalized muscle tone

During a one-hour meaningful lesson, riders can practice:

  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Balance
  • External and internal spatial orientation through body awareness on a horse
  • Speech, movement and motor skills
  • Sequencing tasks to learn how to put steps together in the right order
  • Multitasking
  • Using multiple senses to improve sensory integration
  • Training muscles to carry out the task at hand to improve motor planning
  • Learning how to identify colors, numbers, shapes, animals, directions, etc.
  • Listening carefully and following directions

Each session is 5 weeks.

All students entering the equine-assisted programs at Wings and Hooves are required to attend our  Horse Buddies Horsemanship Program first.
Please visit our Horsemanship Program tab for a description of the program and for access to the student registration forms.

Please email riding@wingsandhooves.org or call the office (603) 642-3722 for more information.