About the Challenge
Everyday, we see the power that the horse has to change lives.
Therapeutic riding has successfully helped our participants achieve their physical, social, cognitive, and emotional goals.
Physically, the horse's gait simulates normal human ambulation in the trunk and pelvis of the rider and can help riders gain strength, balance, as well as postural and tonal improvements. Exercises such as stretching, reaching, and grasping can be incorporated into the session in the form of games to further improve the rider's skills.
The best part? The bond created between horse and rider and the social aspect of interacting with volunteers make the session seem more like fun than work.
Despite the fact that we know the benefits of therapeutic riding, there is little published research about it. At ARISE at the Farm, we believe it is important to join other therapeutic riding programs around the world in conducting studies to educate the public (parents, riders, schools, doctors and insurance providers) about the benefits of therapeutic riding.
For three weeks in March, three children from our program participated in one mounted session per day. Two of the riders are children with Cerebral Palsy and one is a young boy who has Spina Bifida. Nikki Cook, O.T. and instructor, monitored each rider's progress toward specific physical goals.
At the end of the 21-Day Challenge, we were thrilled to see the remarkable progress each child has made.
From a school bus driver noticing that one of the participants could sit up and no longer had to lean against the window, to the physical therapist of another participant telling his parents, "this is not even the same child" and that the 21-Day challenge "jump started so much for him that now he asks to do things he was unwilling to even try before, to the participant who could not sit up on the horse without assistance and is now capable of pushing herself whenever she feels that she isn’t sitting up all the way, all three kids have and continue to demonstrate their gains in strength, mobility, and confiendece throughout their daily lives.