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Therapeutic Riding Program

What is Therapeutic Riding?

Therapeutic horseback riding is the basic activity of HHTRC and provides training in traditional horsemanship skills such as English and Western styles of riding based on the unique therapy goals of each rider. Because HHTRC offers such variety, we can adapt to the needs and goals of the individual. We can not only customize a therapy program, but also help the riders meet their personal recreational goals through riding or competition. In therapeutic horseback riding, the rider learns to influence the movement of the horse.

Certified Instructors

Highly qualified instructors create a wide variety of games and exercises designed to increase the student’s ability to listen, learn, and communicate. In addition, all riders work on improving their horsemanship skills and a willingness to try new things and attain new goals. Students not only improve their riding skills but are taught how to help groom and tack their horses. Classes include arena riding, trail rides, and group activities.
For enrollment please contact the HHTRC office at 816.697.5400 or complete the 2011 on-line registration form.

A Parent’s Letter

(Helping Hands) was recommended by Ruby’s orthopedic surgeon, who knows that horseback riding would help strengthen Ruby’s core muscles, calves, and sense of balance.  After talking with the (wonderful) staff there about Ruby’s needs, we realized that horseback riding would also be a tremendous benefit for Rachel’s sensory processing issues.  I did a lot of research into therapeutic horse riding, and the data / results were impressive.  Even better is what I saw with our girls.

So this is how Helping Hands has made a difference in our lives.  When we started, Ruby had almost no core muscle strength.  She “flopped” onto the horse, and could only sit astride a blanket held on by a sursingle. (she wasn’t erect enough for a saddle).  Besides the instructor, Ruby had 3 volunteers assisting her; a person leading the horse with a lead rope and a volunteer on each side to prevent Ruby from falling.  I thought it looked awful, but Ruby loved her horse and the great people at the stable.  Through lots of hard work, Ruby has made amazing progress.  She now sits proudly in the saddle, uses reins and stirrups, and is practicing going up on toes in the stirrups to the proper position for a trot (great for calves and core!).  And she still loves her horse.  As for Rachel, her sensory issues had gotten worse in the emotional upheaval after adopting Ruby.  She often felt “overwhelmed in her body”, and struggled to maintain control and focus.  The horse and the sensory input of sitting on a walking horse’s back were instantly calming to Rachel.  Even better, we’ve discovered that Rachel is a natural talent at riding.  She has gorgeous posture, controls the horse entirely on her own now, and is starting to learn trotting and jumping.  Rachel’s Instructor has asked Rachel to participate in some shows at other stables in the metro area.  It is a wonderful confidence boost to our precious girl.

Last, and certainly not least, is our darling Rebekah.  Bekah also loves the horses, the atmosphere, and the joy of riding.  She’s made fast progress, and has now learned to control her horse all on her own.

We are blessed to be able to provide Ruby, in particular, with lots of therapy programs.  However, we have also seen the amazing impact Helping Hands has made on many, many other children with even more profound disabilities.