GAIT Therapeutic Riding Center (GAIT TRC) is a PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center that offers a variety of equine assisted services (EAS) designed to meet the needs of children and adults with developmental, physical, and mental/ emotional challenges. We are constantly expanding our programs to accommodate any and all types of disabilities and are always willing to include individuals in EAS activities to the best of our ability. 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 have weight limits to ensure the safety and longevity of GAIT’s horses. 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, and/ 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.
Speech & Language Therapy/ Hippotherapy (HPOT)
Hippotherapy is a treatment tool utilized by state- licensed therapists that incorporates the multi-dimensional movement of the horse to achieve functional outcomes. GAIT TRC coordinates with a PATH Registered Speech and Language Pathologist to provide Speech Therapy to participants.
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.
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