Let your mind slip away from your daily stresses and focus on the bond that you’re building with your new equine friend.
Therapeutic riding is an excellent form of exercise therapy that is fun, safe, challenging and socially rewarding. The goals of therapeutic riding revolve around learning horsemanship, improving basic riding skills and many times, learning a specific riding discipline such as dressage or western pleasure. In therapeutic riding, special attention is paid to facilitating improvements in muscle strength, coordination, balance, stamina, self confidence and social interaction. Lesson plans are tailored individually to address clients’ special needs. Our therapeutic riding instructors are specially trained and certified to instruct clients with a wide variety of physical and mental disabilities, as well as clients who are not disabled. Sessions are conducted in our covered riding arena, pastures and round pen. Therapeutic sessions are conducted according to each rider’s interests, needs, abilities and rate of progress.
Participants in our therapeutic equine programs are self-referred or may be referred by a medical professional.
Confidence and Familiarity
The goal of the first few sessions is to build confidence and familiarity between horse and rider – psychologically and physically. Initially riders learn about appropriate clothing and equipment (tack), grooming the horse before and after riding, horse and barn etiquette and safety procedures, mounting and dismounting the horse safely, and basic riding skills. Another important aspect of the first few sessions is determining at what point it is time to end the session. Sometimes a rider’s enthusiasm lasts longer than his or her physical stamina; therefore the first few lessons are purposely brief. The length of time a rider actually spends mounted is increased each session (up to 50 minutes maximum) as the rider’s stamina and strength increases.
Beginner Riding Skills
In later sessions, also according to the rider’s rate of progress and abilities, more advanced skills are taught. In these sessions, the goals are oriented towards the rider attaining independence (riders are not required to ride independently if they do not wish to do so). Initially a rider starts out with a horse-handler leading the horse and one or two sidewalkers who serve as spotters in the event a rider loses balance or has insufficient postural control to stay safely balanced on their own. Once these deficits are overcome and the rider demonstrates necessary skills and confidence to control the horse independently, he or she is allowed to ride without assistance. Steps to attaining independence include learning to use the appropriate “aids” to ask the horse to move forward at the walk, to turn right and left, to halt, and to back up. The rider must develop and maintain an adequate degree of balance and coordination to perform these maneuvers safely. Sessions include mounted exercises designed to gradually build riders’ strength, tone, flexibility, and balance; all of which are physical improvements that enhance a rider’s functional abilities on and off the horse.
Advanced Riding Skills
Once a rider becomes independent at the walk, he or she may wish to learn to ride other gaits such as trot and canter, or to ride prescribed patterns (dressage tests) in the dressage ring. These sorts of activities are offered to riders who wish to pursue riding as a sport in addition to an alternative form of exercise therapy.
Recreational riding is available only to siblings and family members of participants who are currently enrolled in a therapeutic program. Our experienced instructors and gentle horses are beginner-friendly and will kindly help teach kids and adults how to handle and ride horses safely. Instruction is available in a variety of English and Western disciplines.
Because of Quantum Leap Farm, Olivia now does not have sensory processing disorder. Because of QLF, Olivia has muscle tone and core strength. Because of QLF, Olivia loves animals and the outdoors. Because of QLF, we have Olivia back.-Angie, Mother of Participants
Dear Quantum Leap Family,Kevin and Jennifer, 2011 Therapeutic Riding Family
Thank you does not express how much you have meant to us. You make the world a better place -- your kindness, understanding, training and patience is priceless.
Seeing my child who's gone through so much with a look of such happiness is so wonderful it can be hard to express. Riding a horse by herself has been a dream come true.-Doe Farrell, Mother of a Participant