Therapeutic Riding

recreational horseback riding lessons for children and adults with special needs

What is Therapeutic Riding?

For children and adults of all ages, our equine assisted services inspire change, encourage growth and promote the cognitive, physical, emotional and social well-being of people with special needs by teaching horsemanship skills.

Riders learn horsemanship and riding skills in an environment individually tailored to their specific needs and learning styles. We offer instruction to riders of all skill levels, from providing someone’s first contact with a horse to advanced independent riders. The goals for those in the Therapeutic Riding program are focused on riding skills, but individuals and parents often report many therapeutic benefits seen in their day-to-day lives.

What are the benefits of Therapeutic Riding?

Physical

  • Improved balance
  • Whole-body coordination
  • Improved fine and gross motor skills
  • Increase in strength and flexibility
  • Increased circulation
  • More efficient digestion
  • Improved posture
  • Exercise

Cognitive

  • Improved expressiveness in speech and language
  • Increased attention span and memory retention
  • Increased sensory and spatial awareness
  • Sequencing

Emotional

  • Enhanced sense of personal responsibility and integrity
  • Increased confidence
  • Many riders experience joy in taking care of another creature

Social

  • Friendships with horses and volunteers
  • Team Work
  • Working with, under, and as an authority
  • Improved personal interactions – the formation of emotional and social bonds

Who is eligible for Therapeutic Riding?

LoveWay serves anyone with a diagnosed disability; physical, cognitive, or emotional. Some disabilities served include:

N

Autism Spectrum Disorder

N

ADD/ADHD

N

Down Syndrome

N

Cerebral Palsy

N

Developmental Delay

N

Sensory Processing Disorder

N

Seizure Disorder

N

Depression

N

Behavior Disorders

N

Chromosome Abnormalities

N

Brain Injuries

N

Many More...

Focused on the best match.

Unfortunately, not every child will be a good fit for LoveWay services. Safety is our top priority, so all participants are screened for medical contraindications. There is also a weight limit to ensure the safety of our herd.

How to enroll in Therapeutic Riding

A unique aspect to LoveWay’s program is our close partnerships with the surrounding area schools. Over 15 different classrooms (elementary, middle and high schools) bring their life skills, mixed ability or emotionally impaired classes out during the day to experience the benefits of our Therapeutic Riding program.

In an effort to serve students regardless of where they live or what school they attend, LoveWay also offers a home-based program in which families can enroll in programs outside of the school. 

There is often a waitlist for LoveWay services, but it is not a first-come, first-served system. LoveWay’s program staff intentionally places students in order to maximize the benefits received from Therapeutic Riding. To start the enrollment process, follow the simple steps below!

1. Contact LoveWay’s program coordinator

We’ll start with a conversation so we can learn more about you and whether your child is a good fit for LoveWay services. Get in touch using the form below or via phone at 574-825-5666 or email at [email protected]

2. Complete application

If your child meets initial eligibility requirements, we’ll get started by providing you with the official application. This step includes completing an online enrollment form and requesting a physical from your child’s physician to ensure horseback riding is a medically approved activity.

3. Schedule a trial ride

Once all forms are received, LoveWay’s program coordinator will contact you to schedule a short trial ride to assess how well your child interacts with LoveWay staff and horses. The trial ride helps us verify we can safely accommodate your child and helps us determine which class would be the best fit.

4. Notification of class availability

Once all other enrollment steps are complete, our program coordinator will inform you of your class status.

Interested in more information?

Reach out to the LoveWay programs team using the form below. We’ll talk in more detail to determine if your child is a good fit for LoveWay services.

Interest Form