H.E.L.P. serves children and adults with a variety of special mental, physical, and emotional disabilities. Instructors design and monitor individualized lesson plans for each client to address their physical, emotional, and social needs while they learn skills of horseback riding. Individual and class goals encourage each rider to be the best he or she can be, on and off the horse.
Therapeutic Riding (TR) is an equine-assisted activity for the purpose of contributing positively to the cognitive, physical, emotional, and social well-being of individuals with special needs. Based on input from doctors, therapists, teachers, and parents, the client’s individual goals are designed to complement ongoing therapy and education. The benefits of therapeutic riding are threefold:
The three-dimensional motion of the horse provides the rider hip, back, and core action that simulates natural walking. Riding relaxes and strengthens muscles and improves body tone, posture, balance, joint mobility, and coordination.
Contact with horses and horsemanship training provides a non-competitive setting for learning. New abilities, self-discipline, and improved concentration build self-confidence and emotional well-being. Participation in our programs can also foster a foundation of trust and emotional connection between both animals and humans alike.
Horseback riding nurtures a positive self-image. Riders may, for the first time in their lives, experience some independence and a sense of being part of a team. It is an opportunity for them to interact with other students and their team, building relationships that will further enhance their positive self-image.
Equine Assisted Learning
Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) is an educational approach to equine-assisted activities. EAL content is developed and organized by credentialed practitioners with the primary intent to facilitate personal growth and development of life skills through equine interactions.
In an EAL setting, the experiential approach integrates equine-human interaction that is guided by a planned learning experience to meet the identified goals or desires of the participant. Working with equines provides opportunities to teach critical life skills such as trust, respect, honesty and communication.
Equines use mostly non-vocal communication and are in-tune with human behavior. This can help participants to better understand and learn how our non-verbal communication might be impacting or influencing others in their lives. Equines ask people to be aware of their surroundings at all times. Through interactions with the equines, participants learn a heightened self-awareness. Furthermore, participants gain self-esteem and self-confidence while learning how to work with such a large and powerful creature.
Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy
Equine-facilitated psychotherapy (EFP) is an experiential form of psychotherapy that involves equines. PATH Intl. provides standards of professionalism and safety for people working in EFP.
EFP is defined as an interactive process in which a licensed mental health professional working with or as an appropriately credentialed equine professional, partners with suitable equine(s) to address psychotherapy goals set forth by the mental health professional and the client.
The equine is a critically important partner in the work of EFP. The equine’s prey nature and intense sensitivity to subtle changes in their environment make them perfect partners for professionals who teach a wide range of life and coping skills.
The concept that horses might be helpful or healing to people struggling with mental health issues is based on the idea that horses (as domesticated prey animals) are extremely sensitive to changes in the human being (as a predatory creature). Due to their sensitivity, horses react and respond to people differently based upon the person's emotional state.