Therapeutic Riding Works Wonders

Therapeutic Riding began in Europe and has been using horses to support people with disabilities in growth and improvements cognitively, physically, emotionally and socially since the 1950’s.

Since therapeutic riding’s development, there have been many discoveries about the ways that horses can aid an individual. Students can address confidence and fear, responsibility, communication, trust, honesty, accountability, self-respect and respect for others, as well as anger management. Therapeutic riding has shown that a person does not have to be in the traditional therapy setting in order to address these challenges.

The initial encounter with a horse can make a student very nervous. When the rider mounts the horse they have to manage that fear and have trust in the volunteers who are there to help them. We have had many students who are unable to go through life without aid of some sort. In a program like ours, they build self-esteem and self-confidence while learning how to ride. The horse becomes their aid but in a way that is a partnership. They are also able to set and hopefully meet goals, learn problem-solving skills, work on the ability to focus and stay on task. The students are able to work on all of these elements while the horse is doing most of the work instead of a therapist.

Below are some examples of the benefits that horse related activities could offer:



  • Gradual stretch of spastic or tight muscles
  • Increase range of motion of joints
  • Sensory integration
  • Improved appetite and digestion
  • Improved respiratory and circulation
  • Improvement of abnormal movement patterns
  • Increased speech and language abilities
  • Improved self confidence
  • Learning patience
  • Emotional control and self-regulation
  • Improved focus
  • Building friendships
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Patterning and motor planning

Get Involved with Equine Assisted Therapy at Willow Farm Therapeutic Riding


Being a volunteer in our program not only makes it possible for our students to ride, but we have heard over and over from our volunteers how much they enjoy their time with the program. Join us to see the great smiles that our riders have while being with ‘their’ horse and let those smiles spread to you.

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