SpiritHorse Therapeutic Riding Center of Canton, Inc. has started up several programs to work with all Disabilities and special needs, Children who are Victims of Abuse/Violence, Battered Women, and Youth After-Drug Rehab. Our mission is, "To Assist Each Child with Special Needs in Reaching Their Full Potential through Interaction with Horses". We also have as a mission: "A kind, rewarding home for older show horses and ponies, loving care, and proper burial on our ranch when they pass on."
More than 750 centers in the United States provide recreational therapy, typically in group lessons. A much smaller number provide hippotherapy which is provided by occupational or physical therapists using the horse as a modality. A small number provide equine facilitated mental health, using the horse to foster relationship building and problem solving.
SpiritHorse has developed a research-based program of equine-assisted healthcare, which is has a different goal than that of recreational therapy. It includes, for example, 178 specific steps provided in a one-on-one setting for intervening with its over 200 children who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
SpiritHorse provides the only child development services some of our children will ever receive. We teach many things taught in the school systems to typical kids. For example, we teach those diagnosed with autism how to focus and stay on a specific task through having leading, grooming, and tacking up as part of the lesson. We have seen miraculous breakthroughs with our children when they start performing these tasks.
SpiritHorse Lesson Curriculum
With the assistance of their instructor, lessons start with the rider leading the pony or horse from the pasture gate to the barn. Our ponies and horses can lead from wheelchairs, walkers, and canes. Many of our youngest children with disabilities lead their ponies independently. If the child is in their parents arms we place the lead rope in their hands and they lead their pony. We encourage all to participate.
Depending on the type of lesson, a rider can assist with grooming (ie. brushing) to the ability they have and can develop. They carry their own saddle or blanket or girth, depending upon their ability at that time, and help saddle their pony or horse. We have found that this participation becomes a very important part of the lesson to our riders. Those with cognitive disabilities learn sequencing, two step task execution, following instructions, and work-reward. They also develop a stronger bond with their pony or horse. Many of our riders look forward to this element as much as they do their riding lesson. The leading, grooming, and saddling portion of the lesson usually lasts approximately 15 minutes. In a 30 minute riding session, the rider is in the saddle for the full 30 minutes, working on a lesson plan that is specific to that riders needs. The ridden portion of the lesson takes part in our indoor riding arena. Lesson will have a horse leader and instructed by a certified therapeutic riding instructor and protected by one or two sidewalkers, depending upon their needs. As the lesson progresses and the child starts to develop balance, we provide exercises and riding development in a our arena in which over time, the rider develops sufficient balance. We begin to have the sidewalker step aside in the ring so that the rider will develop stronger balance, and with this development, safe riding skills.
With safety methods paramount, we proceed in methods and tested steps to develop the rider's balance and horsemanship skills. It is our goal to eventually have each of our riders be independent, under controlled conditions.
Why Choose Therapeutic Riding?
The movement of the horse or pony stimulates the rider's vestibular system (inner ear) which not only controls balance, but all voluntary movement of the body, including speech. Half way through the lesson, our students who have an under-stimulated vestibular system (one form of sensory integration dysfunction) become more active vocally and in body movement. Riders also learn vital skills such as: following instructions, focusing, task sequence, participation and self-confidence.
Victims of Abuse / Battered Women Program
SpiritHorse Therapeutic provides individual therapeutic horseback riding lessons together with one-on-one mentors to children who are victims of abuse, which will promote internal healing and mental health. Lessons are provided on a weekly basis, year-round, with short holiday and seasonal break.
We are utilizing riding and horse care activities to impact this problem because these activities and the resulting relationships established between horse and rider have been shown to provide an effective form of therapy. Horses are one of the kindest of all animals. The combination of their size and gentleness is especially helpful in teaching children that it is possible to be both strong and kind without sacrificing one for the other. We believe that this experience will help break the chain of abuse that travels from generation to generation. The relationship developed between rider and horse will build trust, be an emotional outlet and a source for affection and love that is needed so much by these victims. This will be instrumental in restoring mental health to a level that will allow them to re-enter the community with self confidence.
SpiritHorse Therapeutic provides weekly therapeutic riding lessons for people of all ages with disabilities. We have served children and adults with Autism, ADHA, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Pitt Hopkins Syndrome, developmental delays, intellectual disabilities, multiple sclerosis and more.
Our goal is to schedule a rider within two weeks of the completion of their application. For applications, click on Application, above.
We proceed in carefully developed and tested steps, with safety foremost, to develop the rider's balance and horsemanship skills. It is our goal to eventually have each of our riders be independent, under controlled conditions.
The movement of the horse or pony stimulates the rider's vestibular system (inner ear) which not only controls balance, but all voluntary movement of the body, including speech. Half way through the lesson, our students who have an under-stimulated vestibular system (one form of sensory integration dysfunction) become more active vocally and in body movement.
SpiritHorse Therapeutic Riding Center of Canton is now an approved vendor for the Girl Scouts of Connecticut! Our Girl Scout Programs run all year. Brownies and Girl Scouts can earn their Pets Merit Badge and/or Horsemanship badges. Contact us for more information!
We Would Love to Have You Visit Soon! Tours by appointment. Please coNtact us to set up a visit, tour our facility and meet our horses.
Monday- Friday 12pm-7pm Saturday and Sunday 8am-5pm