About Our Program:
The horse motivates riders to use their hands, legs and voice in ways they've never done before. Children who are deaf learn to balance better. Children who are blind learn good posture, which strengthens their muscles to help them hold their heads up. Children with Cerebral Palsy break their tendency to bend their legs inward because they're forced to stretch their muscles outward to stay atop the horse. But often more important than the physical accomplishments is that riding horses increases a sense of self worth and self-esteem.
Therapeutic Riding is the core of our program. Certified PATH instructors, with trained volunteers, assist riders to achieve goals, acquire horsemanship skills, and establish a special bond with their horses. We also have volunteers that are certified to use the Horse Boy Method, when appropriate. Find out more about the Horse Boy Method
We serve children and adults (ages 3 and up) with a wide range of special needs, such as autism, cerebral palsy, developmental delays, sensory integration disorder, Down Syndrome, traumatic brain injuries, paraplegia, learning disabilities, multiple sclerosis, stroke, mental health issues and behavior challenges. Physicians, therapists, counselors, teachers, family members and friends refer participants to RFA. Participants may come to RFA as individuals or as part of a school, recreation, therapy or other group. No clinical diagnosis is necessary to participate; however, participants must have a need for our specialized, therapeutic environment.
How It Happens:
The gentle rhythmic motion of a horse stimulates the body and works the muscles of the rider in a manner similar to the human stride. Because the horse's gait is similar to the human walk, this particular therapy strengthens and supports the natural motion of the spine and pelvis. Riding and the living interaction between horse, student, and staff, foster self-confidence, trust, and the pride that comes from mastering a new skill. The team, which includes horse and human, helps in the healing of the patient with special needs. Every member of the team is chosen carefully and specially trained to perform this very important job.
Benefits of our program include improved confidence, and self esteem, balance, flexibility, range of motion, muscle tone and strength, behavior, ability to stay on task, quality of movement, and decreased need for medication. Research shows that those who participate in hippotherapy and therapeutic riding can experience physical, emotional, and mental rewards. A special bond is established between horse and rider which encourages unconditional love, trust, and self-worth. This bond is an integral part of our program. The unique relationship formed with a horse can help improve interpersonal relationships. All riders can benefit from increased confidence and coping skills.
I Saw a Child
I Saw a Child
I saw a child who couldn't walk,
sit on a horse, laugh and talk.
Then ride it through a field of daisies
and yet he could not walk unaided.
I saw a child, no legs below,
sit on a horse, and make it go
through woods of green
and places he had never been
to sit and stare
except from chair.
I saw a child who could only crawl,
mount a horse and sit up tall.
Put it through degrees of paces
and laugh at the wonder in our faces.
I saw a child born into strife,
take up and hold the reins of life
and that same child was heard to say,
Thank God for showing me the way.
-- John Anthony Davies
In Order For Your Child To Participate All Form In The "Forms" Tab Must Be Completed