Describe the services your center offers!
Thank you mods for adding this forum! I'm very excited to start discussing this with other people.
I thought a good place to start would be to describe the services your center offers and the types of clients you have.
The center I work at offers hippotherapy and therapeutic riding. We have instructors for therapeutic riding as well as speech, physical and occupational therapists for hippotherapy. Our kids in hippotherapy ride in surcingles with one handle, two or none. Most of our clients ride in "no handles"- bareback pads on top of more supportive pads.
Most of our riders start out in hippotherapy and once they meet their goals, they move onto therapeutic riding. We usually start our riders with reins while they're still with their therapist. We don't teach riders to canter at our center. Once they can walk and trot independently, we graduate them on to a typical riding stable in the area.
Some of our riders will not be able to progress at other stables. We have plenty of clients who have been with us for nearly 20 years and will be with us until they stop riding.
I'm looking forward to hearing about other people's centers! Share away :-)
I'm glad to see this forum too. It's neat to see what people are doing.
I'm not a stable or any sort of facility, but late fall last year some friends had family in town that had kids that rode therapeuticly. Theyd been away from their rides for almost a month. We gave them some time with our horses. Petting and being lead around etc..... I fully respect the honest facilities that do this. The smiles are worth everything!
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We do EFL (equine facilitated learning)
EFP (equine facilitated psychotherapy)
We have programs called Connecting with the Herd for the kids, Horse Crazy Camp where girls camp out and focus on learning about horses through grooming, leading, riding, art, music, history, math and science, we do private one on one sessions, and we have a camp for writing, art and horses.
There is also some plans for new programs starting this Summer.
I can't wait until we are able to travel with our horses a bit~ possibly to senior homes or schools.
At my barn, we have hippotherapy, therapeutic riding, and regular lessons, plus camps.
For hippotherapy, we have an OT who positions the kids (who either use a surcingle with a handle, a no handle, a therapy saddle which offers less support than a saddle but has stirrups, and a few ride in regular saddles) and plays different games with them to strengthen their muscles. A few can use the reins but it's mostly kids who have had strokes, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and other disorders that prevent them from being able to hold them effectively.
For therapeutic riding, most of the riders are able to handle reins and can cue the horse to walk/stop/turn, but are still on the lead line. The usually do more trot work than our hippotherapy riders and ride in regular saddles. Some can canter on a lunge. This group has more Autistic riders.
For our regular lessons, we have a mix of special needs and non special needs kids. They are independent riders who are taught walk/trot/canter, and after that often either continue work on the flat with our instructor or go to another barn that specializes in the discipline they want to learn. We have a lot of older or previously injured horses that can no longer jump or barrel race or do whatever they used to do, so we don't really have horses they can learn how to do more than walk/trot/canter on.
In summer camps, we have kids of all ages and needs who come for the week and do crafts, play team games, do the ropes courses, ride, and fish. We have a winter horsemanship camp for kids who want to learn more about horses. (I prefer this over summer camp! :)
We have other non-horse related programs, like a special needs young adult club that comes and bakes or does crafts.
Our farm is the only one in Texas to cater to younger disabled children. It is our idea that the earlier you start, the better and faster you catch on. All disabled children over 18 months old are eligible, and they start on shetland, caspian, or 'mutt' ponies that we own on a leadline with two sidewalkers. They ride on our trails that have little obstacles and signs set up for visual aid and to help strengthen them. I'm our head volunteer since we're nonprofit, and I have riders anywhere from 18 months to 12 years old. After that they're too big for our ponies and they can either start lessons or start our specialized riding program that is in essence therapeudic riding. Most of those riders can only walk and trot. All of our riders start out in western saddles and eventually ride in our Natural Ride bareback saddles.
We just started offering Ocupational therapy as well, now that my boss is certified. We have a rock wall, massage tables, boards, large jelly balls, and other things of that nature in our therapy room.
Besides therapy, we also offer normal riding lessons at discounted prices to help pay for feed and such. We also try to work with at risk teenagers in our area (Houston, very dangerous with some bad gangs and such :/) by teaching them to work with our horses and ride in return for manual labor fixing fences, cleaning, and helping roll hay bales. Its really neat to see how many kid's lives have been turned around doing that!
New Horizon Ranch will take anyone over three, but that is a really interesting idea, Endiku.
NHR offers regular therapeutic riding and hippotherapy.
For hippotherapy the hippo instructor will place the child, who is usually on a bareback pad, in many different positions, play games, or ask questions while the kid is riding. One child just recently started making sounds, trying to talk, late last fall this way!
As for the regular therapeutic riding, they have a lot of children and a lot of different levels. Some of them will always be having just pony rides, and some will slowly go up to a certain level and then stop, but a few of the riders-- it's so amazing to watch them improve! They keep overcoming their different problems and then you look back after a season is over... it's just inspiring. One boy there has Down's Syndrome, and his parents were told he couldn't go any farther in school and would never talk. Guess what... he did, and he can!!
At NHR they teach in groups, but they also teach specific children (and adults too), privately. It depends on the child's/person's needs. A normal sized group is, on average, three to five riders, and in the big groups, there are six to nine. One or two instructors teach in the private or normal sized group lesson, and in the big groups three or four instructors are there. They go from person to person as they need to, and with three instructors every person gets the attention they need.
NHR strongly believes in having the riders learn to groom and tack up there horses (if they can), to the best of they're ability. Evidently a lot of therapeutic riding centers don't allow that. The difference that the grooming alone makes with many of the kids and adults is worth the extra risk. One kid drastically improved his fine motor skills and started communicating more as a result of that. He tried to do things like putting on the bridle himself instead of watching us do it. Pretty neat! He also started relating to the horses which positively affected his relations with people.
There are a few riders there without disabilities having riding lessons along with the more independent riders, but only if they are a sibling to a challenged rider. Some kids are there because they are high-risk (home life, etc.) or else bullied at school and just need to build self esteem and confidence. Someday they hope to help veterans with PTSD.
This center holds shows just for the students a couple of times a year, and they go to one small regular show once a year with the more independent riders. It's a lot of fun for everyone, even though for the last show it was rainy and MUDDY.
We are Crescent City Cowboys, the only horse therapy program in Louisiana that deal exclusively with PTSD and trauma. We have been working with youths/teens who have PTSD/Trauma issues and we will be expanding into veterans this spring. The kids are taught responsibility,teamwork, problem solving, conflict resolution, and so much more. The kids must learn to tack their own horse, pick feet/groom, and must earn their lessons ie stay in school, grades, no fighting, etc.
I just joined this group and will be working on bringing more to the program including charity trail rides, returning veterans, and offering summer camps.
I'm building the website and Facebook page so I'll update when they are up.
We will soon be reaching out to Vets.
Anyone have experience with that?
I LOVE the idea of horses helping Vets.
It's not easy but reach out to the local VA and find a VFW also as many vets are not always getting the info from the VA. Find veterans also to work with veterans as the military has a lingo all it's own and will make it easier for them to make connections.
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