Horses and special needs children are a great fit. We use our horses to provide therapy, education and recreation. They are used as therapeutic tools to develop strength, balance and coordination, as well as to stretch tight muscles or joints. The movement of the horse is very similar to that of the human. Each time the horse takes a step, the rider must rebalance himself just like we do when we take a step. For a child in a wheelchair or a child just learning to walk, this is great therapy. It develops the neuro-motor pathways and the core strength which are necessary to have body control in order to take those first steps.
The psychologist also uses the horse as a therapeutic tool. Through games and activities, the at-risk teenage teens in our program interact with the horses, discuss what they did and why and apply the experience to their own real life situations. The equine activities are used to meet educational goals as well. They stimulate the child to learn survival words, numbers, colors and the alphabet as we play games in the sessions.
Many of our special students just want to ride because it is fun. This is their recreation. We teach them how to ride and how to ride safely so they can go home and ride with family and friends so this may become a lifetime sport for them. The exercise they get can help them have a healthy life. This is all part of our H.A.L.T.E.R. program.