Therapeutic Riding Enriches Lives
Therapeutic horsemanship is widely recognized as a beneficial therapy for people with disabilities. Horseback riding develops self-awareness, builds self-confidence, improves concentration and increases self-discipline. Riding also strengthens and relaxes muscles; improves posture and core strength, balance and coordination; and increases joint mobility. Off the horse, the program also improves attitude and self image. Working towards these goals carries over into improved function in all activities of daily living.
Safety is a primary consideration. All instructors are PATH Intl. www.pathintl.org certified, volunteers receive structured training and horses and ponies are carefully screened and trained to ensure suitability. Special equipment is used for the horses and riders to accommodate special needs. A certified instructor is always with the students when they are on or around any horse. Finally, “leaders” and “side-walkers” assist students throughout the lesson.
The program receives funding through public and private sectors and is associated with the United Way #8144. It operates at the Morven Park Equestrian Center under a generous agreement with the acclaimed facility.
LTR works with children and adults with a wide range of disabilities including: learning disabilities, developmental delay, autism, hearing impairment, visual impairment, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis and stroke. LTR also offers equine-assisted activities for wounded military personnel and veterans.
Carriage Driving Program
In addition to riding lessons, Loudoun Therapeutic Riding offers a cart driving program for those participants who cannot or choose not to sit astride a horse, yet can still benefit from the interaction with the horse and the equine activity. This program develops communication skills, improves gross and fine motor skills and helps the student to build trust and self-esteem in a social and sensory rich environment.
Hippotherapy differs from therapeutic riding in that a licensed medical professional such as an Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist or Speech/Language Pathologist conducts the session (with the assistance of a PATH Intl. certified instructor) and uses the movement of the horse as a treatment strategy for their patients.
PATH Intl. Equine Services for Heroes
“Appreciating the power of the horse to change lives is our goal,” said NARHA Past President Dr. Paul Spiers, “and PATH Intl. wants to provide positive change for these very special lives. Our service personnel have fought to preserve our freedom, and, for many, at a very dear cost. We must be certain that if our wounded service personnel and veterans need and want this kind of help, they will get the best PATH Intl. has to offer.”
For more information on this program (which is offered at no cost to the Veteran) contact us at 703-771-2689, ext. 6605. If you would like to serve as a volunteer contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org .