In addition to the physical benefits for the rider (such as improved posture, muscle strength, and trunk balance), a human-animal bond develops between the rider and the horse, providing psychological benefits to the rider. Sitting astride a horse also can increase the rider’s sense of independence and self-esteem.
Individuals of all ages, disabilities, and conditions may benefit from therapeutic riding, including but not limited to people with autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, learning disabilities, spina bifida, spinal cord injuries, visual and hearing impairments, cardiovascular accidents and strokes, brain injuries, amputations, multiple sclerosis, and muscular dystrophy.
Local communities, 4-H members, and volunteers also benefit from opportunities associated with therapeutic riding by being a part of rewarding and memorable experiences.
Therapeutic riding is an equine-assisted activity that contributes to the cognitive, physical, emotional, and social well-being of individuals with special needs.
Hippotherapy is a physical, occupational, or speech therapy treatment strategy that uses equine movement as part of the patient’s treatment plan.
Educational programs include summer camps, school field trips, and individual or group equine activities.
Certification workshops for therapeutic riding instructors are provided to individuals interested in obtaining PATH Intl. instructor certification status. Therapeutic riding instructors who are interested in teaching at a PATH Intl. riding center are required to achieve one level of PATH Intl. instructor certification. MSU Extension Equine Assisted Therapy Program staff host these certification workshops.
Additionally, MSU Extension Equine Assisted Therapy Program staff may assist individuals and civic groups with developing therapeutic riding programs in their communities.
The Mississippi State University Extension Equine-Assisted Therapy program will hold a fundraising event Oct. 12.
WEST POINT, Miss. -- The groundwork portion of therapeutic horseback riding offers emotional and mental benefits to veterans who take part in a program at Mississippi State University.
Lance McElhenney of Webster County served in the U.S. Marine Corps around the world. Injured by a mortar fragment in Iraq in 2004, this Purple Heart veteran now fights a different battle -- with multiple sclerosis. One of his weapons is an old horse he named Archie, for Archibald Henderson, the grand old man of the Marine Corps.
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Therapeutic horseback riding is about much more than physical therapy.
Cassie Brunson, coordinator of the Mississippi State University Extension Service Therapeutic Riding and Activity Center, said participants first come to the program for the exercise, but they stay for the relationships.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Riders involved in the Mississippi State University therapeutic riding program will demonstrate their skills in a special event April 19 at the Mississippi Horse Park.
About 46 riders will take part in the second annual Therapeutic Riding Expo, which begins at 6 p.m. The horse park is south of Starkville at 869 East Poorhouse Road. The event is free and open to the public.
Trauma survivor benefits from Extension hippotherapy program
General outpatient therapy is a major step in helping trauma victims on the road to recovery, but hippotherapy has emerged as an effective method of helping them regain mobility over time.
He joined the US Marine Corps to serve and protect the country, and, as a Marine in Iraq, Lance McElhenney felt 10 feet tall and bulletproof.
In this "What's New in Extension," Extension agents implement better safety standards, train to deliver Mental Health First Aid, and receive national recognition. Also, new irrigation and specialists join the Extension family.