Participants are referred to the program by medical professionals such as family physicians, occupational therapists, and physical therapists with secondary referrals coming from school counsellors, coaches, social service workers, and the like.
Therapeutic riding and equine-based therapies assist individuals with a wide variety of special needs. Significant evidence supports the tremendous benefit that these services provide for physical outcomes (strength, flexibility, coordination, balance, reduced spasticity, etc.) as well as behavioural/emotional goals (self-control, independence, confidence, empowerment, etc.). Therapeutic riding and equine-based therapies are similarly associated with improved attention skills related to classroom learning and academic performance.
Connecting everything is the undeniable social impact for participants. Using the horse as a conduit for communication and a love of these animals as essential common ground, participants gain valuable social skills and gain a sense of belonging in our community. This sense of inclusion and “found family” extends to volunteers, families, and visitors alike.