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.
**I must not forget to thank the difficult horses, who made my life miserable, but who were better teachers than the well-behaved school horses who raised no problems.**