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Therapeutic Riding Horses
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Therapeutic Riding Horses

Equine therapy benefits individuals dealing with all kinds of challenges. Horses help the riders to develop physically, mentally and emotionally. The horses understand the riders in an almost magical sense and actually help to heal their spirits and give them confidence.

The work these horses do is challenging and they must be sound and healthy mentally and physically. The horses need to be fit so there are fewer physical or veterinary issues. Remember many disabled riders have a problem with balance, which puts strain on the horses back muscles.

Horses uses in these programs must receive veterinary care, massages, and chiropractic therapy to remain healthy. Horses best suited for equine therapy are extremely calm and easily trained to the different stimuli. The horses must be introduced to many different apparatus including wheel chairs and machines that lift riders on to their backs. Loud noises, sudden movements, things being thrown in the air are part of the daily routine for these horses.

Equine Therapy horses should also be given a break from the therapy work during their workweek. Trail riding, free time and exposure to other activities help keep the horses morale up. The last thing these horses need is to develop a sour taste for their job.

To find horses that work well in equine assisted programs is not always an easy task. Sometimes people actually believe they can donate lame or sore horses to such programs. Please remember the type of work that the horses will be doing and donate appropriate horses for these programs.

The horses are priceless and give 100 percent of themselves. The help they bring to others is immeasurable. Take a day everyone and visit an equine assisted program in your area, volunteer your time and see the magic for yourself. These horses change lives and deserve the best care possible.

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Leave a Comment

  1. mered30
    I see this every month because I volunteer for a therapeutic riding center!!!
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  2. jst4horses
    We take amazing horses and also borrow performance horses. Last Rose Parade, and this Rose Parade one of the horses loaned to us will be in a very spectacular equestrian group in the parade. We have had three million dollar race horses, one was still in training, just out on loan to us for a lay up for lung issues. We never get rid of our horses, we work with kids and veterans who have been thrown away, and many of them are happy just to groom an old, injured horse. One Administrator from a very prestigious program came and fed carrots and brushed horses in the sun. When we asked if she wanted to ride, she said "WHAT, do you think I am crazy" Until she moved away, she came. And recommended horse grooming and carrot feeding to many. We had seniors who helped with carrot and alfalfa feed by only small handfuls to socialize severely abused horses.......who later became amazing members of our program. There is so much more to equine therapy than riding. I had one horse for over 12 years who had been marked to get sent to the slaughter auction by the equine therapy program who refused to give her back to the owner who lent her to them, I had to buy her back, which the owner could not afford to do at the time. She was my best partner for all those years to age 33. We got into a dispute with an animal control (gestapo is what our lawyer told the city when he filed suit) who even in face of THREE veterinarians who had known the horse since his racing days saying he was old and frail, yes, but he was healthy, and well loved. That woman had no idea how that harmed the veterans and terminally ill children served in our programs for FREE to have their favorite horse put down. She said, in the wild he would have been dead long ago. People need to be more sensitive to the riders, and more loyal to the horses.
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  3. MHarris
    I totally agree! They give with no expectation of anything in return. Most of them, this may be their last job. But, it is entirely their most important ever. I volunteer at a program and we have a mix of retired cow ponies, cutting horses, brood mares, dressage horses and pets. But, they are all valued and all loved.
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