Horse Therapy for Children and Adults with Special Needs
The Therapeutic Riding Program illustrates the meaning of the Center’s motto, “People helping animals and animals helping people.” Our program is dedicated to improving our clients’ quality of life; cognitively, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Experienced staff members develop riding courses to suit individuals’ needs in conjunction with physicians, physical therapists, and special education teachers. Through a non-judgmental teacher and horse, people learn acceptance, trust, respect, love, and personal development. Our program is accredited with the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) International.
Research has shown that the rhythm and symmetry of a horse’s movement are perfect tools for improving a rider’s posture, balance, verbal communication, and muscle control. The riding also improves concentration, memory, and sequential thought processing, and even helps emotionally disabled riders articulate their feelings.
Therapeutic riding offers benefits distinct from more traditional therapies. Riders feel a freedom of movement and mobility that they may never have experienced before, particularly if they have been using a wheelchair for many years. Improvements often are rapid because the riders are having fun-hardly noticing that they are performing repetitive therapy exercises.
Students, ages 4 and over, ride specially trained horses in weekly sessions to enhance balance, muscle development and learning skills, such as hand-eye coordination, concentration and short-term memory. More importantly, we stress having fun in a safe and rewarding environment. Our instructors work with each individual to create attainable yet challenging goals centered on horseback riding skills. Weekly riding lessons teach the skills of riding and horsemanship and are prepared with the individual’s safety in mind, emphasizing physical, social and psychological development. Currently we have over 55 students participating in the program.
Find out more about the benefits of Therapeutic Riding
Meet the crew members who make the Therapeutic Riding Program possible
The Therapeutic Riding Program would not be possible without the generous support of donors like you.
Therapeutic Riding News and Notes
2016 has been a fun and full year for therapeutic riding. We’d like to thank the donors and shoppers who made both our tack sales this year such big successes. Our last big event of the year is our annual horse show for the therapeutic riding clients and families on Saturday November 19th. Our show this is year is generously sponsored again by Mr. David Bialis. We invite the public out to see the great accomplishments these riders have worked hard all year to achieve.
Speaking of generous sponsors, the program is indebted to Dr. Rodrigo Vazquez and his assistant Dr. Mailee Fanning for the dedicated care they provide to our horses year round. The health and well being of our equine staff members are one of our top priorities, and we are forever grateful to Dr. Vazquez and Dr. Fanning for the veterinary expertise they provide our horses.
Headed off to college? New family member on the way? Life just getting in the way? If you or someone you know has a horse in their life looking for something to do, we may have a solution. The therapeutic riding program is looking for kind, gentle horses between 14 & 15 hands high, at least 10 years old, and sound at the walk, trot, and canter, for a position on our therapeutic riding team. We provide training and excellent care by our experienced staff. Think your horse might fit the bill? Please email program manager Courtney Mellor for more details on how your horse can join the therapeutic riding team.
The Therapeutic Riding Program would like to give a special thanks to the following organizations and individuals for their support
- The Lucky Duck Foundation
- The Menard Foundation
- Charles & Ruth Billingsley Foundation
- Community Service Association San Diego Unified School District
- Employee Charitable Giving Organization of Northrop Grumman
- John & Beverly Stauffer Foundation
- National Charity League del Norte Chapter
- Rancho Santa Fe Foundation
- Samuel I. and John Henry Fox Foundation
- The Arthur and Jeanette Pratt Memorial Fund
- The Ray Kahler Foundation at Union Bank
- Torrey Pines Kiwanis Club
GET IN CONTACT WITH US
Therapeutic Riding Office:
Tuesday – Friday 8:30 am – 5:00 pm
Saturday & Sunday 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
*Please note that staff are often at the barn in the morning and lessons in the afternoon