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krystin3923 09-22-2009 09:49 PM

best breed for therapy
Hi im krystin
im a college student and going to start using horses as therapy for special education students and possibly handicap people.
basically use them for therapy. to help with a rbroad range of people
and i was wondering opinions on the best breed to use for this therapy.
a horse that is laid back, friendly and can handle stuff like that.

your opinion is greatly appriciated!:-)

LadyDreamer 09-22-2009 11:25 PM

Breed should not be high on your list. My two year old Saddlebred would make a good Therapy horse when he is finished.

Basically you will want a horse with a quiet, friendly, calm disposition. He must be forgiving of mistakes, easy going, and he must know his job well.

JadedEyes 09-22-2009 11:28 PM

To even consider anything like this, you need to be a licensed therapeutic riding instructor. Also, the liabilities involved in doing this would require specific types of insurance in case anyone would be hurt. A lot of parents of children with special needs would be very leary about putting their child into the hands of an unliscened trainer. Also remember, not every potential rider will be a child. Believe me, I am a special education teacher. I work with severe/profound students.

I would suggest, if you are really interested in getting involved with therapeutic riding to contact a center in your area and possibly volunteer there. It would be a great experience and you would learn a lot of things. This will be your best bet and in this case everyone can and will be safe.

I would suggest if at all possible to volunteer at a NARHA Premier Accredited Center.

I do not mean to sound harsh or try to upset you. But I want you to gain a good experience and to keep everything safe for anyone involved, including the riders with special needs, the horses, and yourself.

It's not as easy as it seems. Horses used for therapy are highly trained and can take years to develop that type of behavior.

Please don't continue this without first understanding completely.

Eastowest 09-24-2009 04:48 PM

I agree with the previous posts, that its not really about a breed as much as how an individual horse fits the program's needs best, and also, that you will want to have ample preparation, education, and certification before starting such a program.

That being said, one of my "icons" is Cowgirl Hall of Fame, Appaloosa Hall of Fame , Special Olympics Coach of the Year Sherri Mell. She is a superb human being who heads an organized therapuetic riding program, and so much more. She does her work primarily with Appaloosas, which she and her family have raised and trained for several decades.

Here are some links about Sherri and her various invovlements--
Cowgirl Hall of Fame
R.O.P.E.R. - Riding Opportunities Promoting Exceptional Riders
R.O.P.E.R. - Riding Opportunities Promoting Exceptional Riders
Sherri Mell: ZoomInfo Business People Information

IrishRider 09-25-2009 05:55 PM

I have heard that Fjords can be wonderful for this sort of thing.

ChevyPrincess 09-25-2009 07:26 PM

I would definitely make sure you get a degree in teaching Special Education, and have expirence with those types of kids. A riding instructor degree would be good.

My freind does therapeutic riding. She uses mammoth donkeys. They are perfect! She (funny) also raises and trains appaloosas and sometimes uses them.

Good luck to you! =]

dashygirl 09-27-2009 10:41 AM

Everyone above took the words right out of my mouth.
And please, even if you know just one potential client who has a guardian that does not care if you have a license or not (maybe a close friend or something) please do not ignore the advice given here. You don't want anything to happen to the child you're going to work with. The reason I say this is because I knew of a person who did that exact thing.

You want to establish yourself as a professional before you start considering something like this. And also, taking the classes to get the license will let you see if it is something that you REALLY want to do. :)

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