GAIT Therapeutic Riding Center (GAIT TRC) is a PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center that offers a variety of equine activities and therapies designed to meet the needs of children and adults with developmental, physical, and emotional challenges. We are constantly expanding our programs to accommodate any and all types of disorders and are more than willing to try equine therapy on any ailment. Please contact us for an evaluation and for more detailed information on the wide array of programs offered.
Policies and prices are included on each program application. Mounted activities require medical clearance from a physician and are limited to 180 lb weight limit (maximum weight that GAIT’s horses can carry). These restrictions do not apply to unmounted activities.
Therapeutic Riding (TR)
Therapeutic Riding classes are taught within a group setting by a PATH Intl. Certified Instructor with the assistance of specially trained volunteers. Lessons are designed to accommodate the physical, mental, or social needs of the rider. The physical act of riding improves balance, posture, trunk control, motor function, and coordination. Increased attention, communication skills, spatial awareness, and socialization are achieved through a series of planned exercises. Participants with a wide array of challenges and varying ages are taught basic horseback riding techniques to control the horse’s movement, such as walking or stopping the horse.
Some Therapeutic Riding classes may include unmounted activities that reinforce riding and arena activities, or provide opportunities to explore ideas and learn interesting facts about the horses they ride. Activities include playing games, working puzzles, completing an activity page, enjoying an art process, interacting with model horses or puppets, grooming a model horse (or a real one), constructing a model stable or arena, working in the garden, or navigating one of GAIT’s labyrinths.
Hippotherapy is a treatment tool utilizing the multi-dimensional movement of the horse, which is variable, rhythmic, and repetitive, to achieve functional outcomes. GAIT’s PATH Intl. Certified Instructors coordinate with state-licensed therapists, who are also PATH Registered, to conduct a Hippotherapy session. Interventions include Speech and Language Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Occupational Therapy.
In Hippotherapy, the horse’s movement influences the rider’s responses rather than the rider being taught to control the horse’s movement. The therapist analyzes the rider’s responses to the horse’s movement and adjusts the treatment (the horse’s movement) with the goal of having the rider respond in a very specific way. This unique, three dimensional movement provides sensory input to the brain and nervous system to improve balance, flexibility, muscle strength, motor function planning, postural awareness, and sensory processing.
Equine Assisted Learning (EAL)
PATH Intl. Certified Instructors, educators, and equine professionals integrate horse- human interaction through planned learning experiences This experiential learning approach is a method of teaching positive, effective patterns of social interactions, and communications.
Sessions are conducted by an equine professional who develops mounted and/or unmounted activities involving the horse to address emotional and behavioral characteristics of the individual. They are designed to be safe, educational, and age-appropriate for small groups or individuals to function more happily and self-confidently in their everyday lives. Teens-at-risk — as identified by the school system, youth advocacy programs, or other professional organizations — benefit from this type of program.
Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP)
PATH Intl. Equine Specialists in Mental Health and Learning and credentialed mental health professionals partner with carefully selected horses to address the client’s psychotherapy goals. This experiential approach allows professionals to teach a wide range of life skills and coping techniques to those struggling with mental health issues. These interactive processes provide participants with insight for observation and growth while promoting healthy communication, social skills, patience, and confidence.
As prey animals, horses are highly perceptive to subtle changes within their environment. This sensitivity dictates how they will respond to an individual’s changing emotional state. If a client arrives feeling anxious, the horse will respond accordingly. As the client learns to reduce their anxiety, the horse’s behavior will mirror that response. The horse acts as a large biofeedback machine, providing the client and mental health professional with information and skill building opportunities.
Vocational Training (VOC)
This program is designed to help high school students with special needs transition from school to the work environment. Sessions are conducted by a PATH Intl. Certified Instructor who has extensive stable work experience. This Instructor coordinates with school officials and teachers for the educational portion of this training. Life goals such as functional communication, proper social interactions between males and females, reading and following directions, leisure, recreation with another person or group and self-determination are all addressed in these vocational training sessions.
Horses 4 Heroes (H4H)
Horses 4 Heroes is a national program offered at GAIT, serving Veterans, First Responders, Law Enforcement Officers, and their families.
This program, offered in accordance with PATH Intl. standards and guidelines, provides therapeutic horsemanship services for free to servicemen and servicewomen to address their emotional, physical, or mental traumas – or any combination. Participants may also choose the option of therapeutic riding lessons at a specially discounted rate. In addition, “Operation Night Catch” is a support group offered to children of deployed parents that offers free unmounted equine experiences. This program benefits families of deployed service personnel by providing them with support during a very stressful time, while providing peace of mind to their loved ones abroad.
GAIT TRC is pleased to give back to those who have served our country, and confident that these beautiful animals can offer both physical and emotional benefits to those who often need them the most.
Let Equines Empower People (LEEP)
The goal of the LEEP program is to help families living with cancer focus on their minds, bodies, and souls while learning about horses in an atmosphere of professionalism, teamwork, and fun.
LEEP is dedicated to helping those living with cancer, survivors, and family members to improve their health and overall quality of life in a safe, non- threatening environment. PATH Intl. Instructors and Equine Specialists guide participants through meditation work and light yoga in preparation of working with horses and to facilitate self- discovery and acceptance. Participants will enjoy mounted and/ or unmounted equine activities such as grooming, leading at the walk, and goal- oriented interactions to help foster a bond between horse and human.
GAIT Therapeutic Riding Center, GAIT TRC
therapeutic horseback riding, Milford, PA, hippotherapy, EAAT, Veteran services, equine therapy, cancer survivors