A few years ago, we decided to begin Therapeutic Riding with Nathan. Therapeutic Riding, is a program developed for children and adults with special needs. The program is designed to help improve a variety of skills such as core strengthening, communication, building trust, improving motor and social skills, and decreasing sensory overload.
When Nathan started his Therapeutic Riding Program at Rocky River Stables, he instantly fell in love with horses and horseback riding. He would "ask" when it was time for riding and both Matt and I knew it was something he looked forward to on a weekly basis.
During his 45 minute riding session, the instructors work on both gross and fine motor skills while on the horse. The riders perform activities like arm and leg circles, puzzles, putting rings onto cones, and controlling the horse. They do many of these activities inside the riding ring, and also go out on trail rides if the weather permits.
Nathan has come so far in the past 2 1/2 years of riding. He always did a great job with the puzzles (he's always been interested in puzzles), but struggled with other things. When he first started, he needed help getting on the horse. Nate wasn't able to do the arm, wrist or leg circles without help from his side walker. He also didn't always want to hold onto the reigns of the horse.
Last night, I stood in the entrance of the ring/riding arena, and watched Nate in awe. He quietly and calmly walked over to his horse, and got on with minimal assistance. He grabbed the reigns and was ready to go. During the short exercise part of the program, he did the arm and leg circles with a small amount of prompting. Nathan looks and acts so comfortable on the horse, and is truly at a happy place when he's up there.
I am so glad that we have been given the opportunity to participate in Therapeutic Riding. We have found an activity that he absolutely adores. I hope that being up on a horse will always be one of his happy places.
For more information on Therapeutic Riding at Rocky River Stables please visit