Riley was born with a weak core, stability issues, but an adventurous spirit. Through an equine therapy program led by instructors accredited by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH), Riley not only met her physical and developmental therapy goals, she also exceeded them! “She did a lot of tip-toeing,” says Riley’s mother, Tara. “Keeping her heels down in the stirrups was very helpful.”
The Hanson Center uses 20 horses to provide opportunities for children and adults with disabilities to experience the enjoyment and therapeutic benefits of riding horses. Premier PATH certified instructors lead individual and small group lessons with the assistance of trained volunteers. Students can begin riding as early as four years of age and participate in events such as Special Olympics, horse shows, and summer camps.
On top of the physical benefits of horse therapy, there are opportunities for emotional and social growth as well. “When they’re with other riders and volunteers, they’re able to build friendships and relationships. It is tremendous to see all of these benefits pulled together and work so well,” says horsemanship instructor John Maniatis. Thanks to the Hanson Center horsemanship program and the hundreds of devoted volunteers that work with us, children like Riley are able to run, play, and keep up with their friends.