Therapeutic Riding //
What ARE . . .
Equine Assisted Services //
Therapeutic horseback riding is just one of the Equine Assisted Services (EAS) practiced around the world. EAS includes three main activities where professionals incorporate horses to improve the wellbeing of people. EAS include Horsemanship, Therapy & Learning services.
- Horsemanship services include therapeutic riding, driving, interactive vaulting.
- Therapy services include Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists and Speech Therapists, and Mental Health professionals who incorporate horses into a client’s overall treatment plan to improve functional goals. These services are also known as Hippotherapy.
- Equine Assisted Learning services include education professionals who incorporate experiential learning activities with horses to help clients achieve educational, organization or personal goals.
Across all EAS, the goal is the same –> to improve the overall wellbeing of participants.
What WE DO AT MITEY RIDERS . . .
Therapeutic Horseback Riding //
Mitey Riders classes specialize in therapeutic horseback riding and horse care. Lessons are delivered in a social setting and are designed to promote independence and personal growth.
- In mounted lessons we teach riding skills using adaptive equipment and techniques in a setting that allows us to address the physical, social/emotional, and cognitive needs of our riders. Learn more about our classes below.
- Unmounted activities focus on learning to properly care for our equine partners.
The Role of the Horse’s Movement
In therapeutic riding, the movement of the horse is key to the many benefits our riders experience. Sitting astride a horse, our riders can feel the horse’s back move in a rhythmic motion. This motion stimulates the rider’s hip-spine coordination (lumbo-pelvic rhythm), which in turn relaxes the nervous system which promotes relaxation, reduces anxiety, and improves overall sense of well-being.
Benefits of Therapeutic Horseback Riding //
Through the movement of the horse, riders build strength by passively absorbing the motion of the horse while maintaining proper posture and actively engaging their body to control the horse’s movements.
Examples of physical benefits include:
Improved posture and balance
Increased muscle tone and strength
Greater range of motion
Decreased muscle spasticity
Better hand-eye coordination
Reduction in abnormal movement patterns
Cognitive & Sensory Benefits
Therapeutic horseback riding lessons provide an opportunity for students to refine various cognitive and sensory skills. This learning is uniquely facilitated by the motion of the horse, which provides sensory stimulation and a rhythmic motion that can aid in learning and sensory integration.
Examples of cognitive and sensory benefits include:
Task planning and spatial awareness
Tactile awareness and sensory integration
Application of sequencing, patterning and spatial planning.
Improved attention and focus
Emotional & Social Benefits
Our students benefit from the bonds they develop with their equine partner, their dedicated volunteer team and other riders. We love to see the tremendous confidence that is born by seeing the world from the back of a horse!
Examples of emotional and social benefits include:
Increased self confidence and self esteem
Increased self control and emotional regulation
Increased social communication and cooperation
A greater sense of relaxation and sense of wellbeing
While horseback riding can have a therapeutic effect, Mitey Riders does not provide therapy services. Our classes are taught by PATH Intl. Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructors, not Physical/Occupational/Speech Therapists. We are happy to refer you to other centers where these types of professionals incorporate a horse into their treatment plan to obtain functional goals for a client.
“My son Nino, who has Down syndrome, has been around horses since his first hippotherapy session when he was a toddler. Every week, his sisters and I so looked forward to going to a farm in South Carolina, enjoying the beautiful scenery and watching the horses work their magic.
Now that he’s 12, he has progressed to the point that he doesn’t need to receive speech or occupational therapy on horseback, so Mitey Riders is a perfect fit and we can get our equine fix closer to home!
The therapeutic horseback riding that Mitey Riders offers helps him maintain and grow his hard-won core strength and balance, while working on vital skills like becoming more independent, following directions, working in a group and developing social and emotional skills from interacting with the horses, volunteers and other riders.
Going to Misty Meadows farm is always the highlight of my week – the fresh air is great for all of us. What’s really cool is that his twin sister, who does not have a disability, has a huge heart for horses thanks to spending so much time around them at her brother’s sessions over the years. She has taken riding lessons and might even become a horse trainer or a veterinarian when she grows up!”
Class Activities //
The basic riding skills we teach and develop include: walk, halt, trot, 2-point, and steering using posture and balance. Our riders navigate obstacle courses, cavaletti poles and experience the joy of trail riding on our sensory trail.
We strengthen skills through cooperative games , beanbag toss, memory, matching and more. We design our lessons with each rider’s individual life goals in mind.
Despite the underlying goals of cognitive, physical and social development, our activities are FUN and encourage independence and friendship.
A PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center for Therapeutic Riding
(704) 814-6627 (Fax)
455 Providence Rd. South, Waxhaw, NC 28173