Develop Courage. Some of our girls are
initially afraid of horses. Riding such large animals is
different from anything they have experienced before. As
they learn to conquer their initial fear and discover how
gentle and affectionate the horses really are, they also
begin developing a new pattern of challenging old fears
and finding from within the courage to improve.
Increased Self-Confidence and Direction.
Horsemanship is a new skill for most of our students. They
experience the increased confidence that comes from
learning how to do something potentially frightening or
different. While riding, they learn to be decisive and to
provide clear directions to their horse, lessons which
often have carryover application into the rest of their
Improved Communication Skills. Horses are
keenly aware of the non-verbal cues of our riders. As our
students become more aware of how their non-verbal
communication affects the horse and how that horse reacts,
they also grow more aware of the role that their
non-verbal cues play with the important relationships in
Improved Ability to Trust. Our students
learn you can develop a relationship and trust something
that is bigger than themselves. This is especially
important for victims of abuse.
Self-Acceptance. The unconditional
acceptance of friendship that an animal can give allows
some of our students to accept themselves for who they
are, and is often a positive first step in developing
normal relationships. As our students feel accepted by a
horse, they often come to terms with themselves in a way
that allows them to accept themselves as well.
Respect for Others. Horses only respond
positively when the proper respect exists with the
student. As our students learn both to earn and give that
respect, life-lessons of earning and giving respect with
family members and friends are an important byproduct.
Parents need to know that our
students are never allowed to ride unless declared
medically fit by a physician. They are then initially
taught basic riding skills, horse care and grooming, and
riding etiquette. These skills are taught by an
outstanding staff chosen for their ability to combine
horsemanship training with experiential therapy. All horse
handlers are experienced riders and our therapists are
specifically trained in equine therapy. While working with
the horses, safety is never compromised and our students
are never forced to do something against their will.
Equine therapy is generally
done at least once monthly, alternating with regular
weekly recreational therapy that includes high and low
ropes course work.