Our mission is to improve the quality of life for individuals of all ages with a wide range of physical, psychological, academic, social, cognitive and/or emotional disabilities through therapeutic horseback riding as well as other therapeutic equine-related activities such as equine-facilitated psychotherapy, driving, competition, ground work, stable management; services in human growth and development to serve wide-ranging audiences for such educational purposes as leadership training, team building and other human capacity enhancement skills of the workplace and for daily use. A unique relationship formed with the horse can lead to increased confidence, patience, self-esteem, awareness and mobility, anticipatory response, body localization, spatial organization and socialization skills. The sense of independence found on horseback benefits all who ride. These skills learned through the program are also transferred into an individual’s life outside the barn. The needs of each student are carefully considered when we assemble a personal therapeutic team. Each includes the rider, horse, instructor, and others necessary to maximize the benefits of each lesson. Our instructors and trained volunteers treat all riders with respect and work toward building a friendly and caring relationship with each member of our family.
Goals are developed with input from parents/ clients / therapists but the following are a few of the common elements that are worked into the overall goal of teaching the client riding and / or horsemanship skills.
Safety: During all times, activities will be conducted in a manner that is as safe as possible for the student, horse and volunteers. Heads Up Special Riders is working towards getting accredited by PATH Intl. and follows strict procedures for conducting lessons in a safe environment.
Strength & flexibility: The student will conduct certain physical tasks as a part of riding therapy that will aid in developing general physical fitness.
Balance and Rhythm: The student will experience stimulation of the inner ear through the natural movement of the horse thereby improving his/ her balance and rhythm. The natural walking movement of the horse stimulates muscles and sensor systems that mimic the natural walking movements of the student and can aid in the students development in walking.
Spatial organization: The student will develop the ability to move and direct the horse within a given area and will understand & respond appropriately to right, left, up, down, forward and backward.
Sensory awareness: The student will develop sensory awareness and integration from both the stimuli elicited by the horse and through the challenge of executing specific motor tasks.
Comprehension: The student will develop the ability to use judgment and reasoning in riding and working with the horse and related equipment.
Time and sequence: The student will develop an awareness of time concepts and will develop the ability to perform tasks in sequential order.
Cognitive development: The student will further his / her knowledge of the alphabet, counting and mathematics as well as horsemanship where appropriate.
Confidence and self-esteem: The student is interacting with a large animal who is responsive to them and who they can be in control of. This raises their self-esteem and confidence which can transfer outside of the riding arena.