What is Therapeutic Riding?

For centuries horses have assisted us two-leggeds by being workers, transporters, companions, teachers and therapists.

Therapeutic horseback riding (also known as equine-assisted activity or adaptive riding) is used to teach riding skills to people with disabilities. Therapeutic riding is beneficial for children and adults who present with any of a wide range of cognitive, physical, and emotional conditions.

The earliest historical records of people with disabilities riding horses are from around 600 B.C. Today, the field has become specialized and there are a few avenues in horse assisted therapy. Some centres may offer physical therapy using the horse’s movements to influence the body of the rider (hippo therapy). Other centres focus on the emotional health benefits (equine facilitated wellness). The majority of centres focus on therapeutic riding to provide socialization, recreation, interaction between clients and horses and care and training of the horse. CVTRS uses all of the above approaches in their various programs. Therapeutic riding many provides benefits such as: physical; psychological; educational; behavioural; social; and recreational benefits.

At CVTRS, riding instruction is given by qualified instructors in conjunction with physiotherapists, occupational therapists or therapists. Riders are assisted by trained volunteers during all phases of their riding activities. Safety gear is provided.

The horses for this program are especially schooled for use with people with disabilities. The horses are sponsored through individual and corporate donations.

In addition, CVTRS and therapeutic riding is a community in itself.  You’ve probably heard the saying its takes a village to raise a child?  At CVTRS we see the community not only support and sustain the program and we see CVTRS become community. It’s like a small village on any given day. There is a wealth of support for the program from donors, to caregivers, volunteers, partnerships and more. For many, coming to CVTRS has become the highlight of their week. We see parents and caregivers sharing stories and offering each other support and advice, we see riders making new friends, (sometimes it’s their first friend!) We see our staff fulfilled seeing the difference therapeutic riding makes to the quality of life for our riders.