Whispering Meadows Ranch offers therapeutic horseback riding and horsemanship instruction to individuals with disabilities or special needs. Our goal is to improve physical, emotional, and social functioning through participation in a highly structured and safe program. Riders’ interaction with carefully selected and trained horses improves their balance, posture, flexibility, sensory awareness and endurance in addition to increasing confidence, self-esteem, self-discipline, motivation, attention span and integration with non-disabled peers. Our program certainly has therapeutic benefits and is meant to be a fun activity that aligns with the goals of other therapeutic interventions.
Each program is taught by PATH International (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) Certified Instructors. Whatever type of equine-assisted activity an individual chooses, our goal is to help them achieve their personal best in a friendly, professional and consistent environment.
Therapeutic Horseback Riding
The benefits of horseback riding are as numerous as the types of disabilities and conditions served. Research shows that students who participate in therapeutic riding can experience physical, emotional and mental rewards. As horseback riding gently and rhythmically moves the rider’s body in a manner similar to a human gait, riders with physical disabilities often show improvement in flexibility, balance and muscle strength. Our riding approach enables clients to work with the same horse, volunteers and instructors for each session, thus allowing the rider to strengthen the bond even deeper between horse and their team.
In response to several community and caregiver inquiries, the Ranch has added “Stable Moments”, a mentor program for foster and adopted children. Stable Moments’ mission is to improve the life course of foster and adopted children through equine facilitated learning (EFL) and community mentorship.
Weekly mentor sessions are designed to help create a strong foundation and equip the child to make healthy choices and value themselves. An individualized plan is designed to highlight the child’s strengths or challenges, and activities are chosen accordingly. Structured Equine Facilitated Learning activities will help develop life skills such as emotional awareness, self-regulation, anger management, accountability, healthy relationships and appropriate boundaries, just to name a few. For additional information on Stable Moments, please visit their website, https://www.stablemoments.com/ or contact us firstname.lastname@example.org.
Benefits of Equine Programs
Many of the guests that visit Whispering Meadows have disabilities and challenges that include obstacles they overcome on a daily basis. Horses are the great equalizer. The development of the human-equine bond assists these individuals in gaining independence, respect, trust and leadership skills. They are then able to transfer their newfound skills into other aspects of their lives, thus increasing confidence and empowering them to do more.
Horses talk to us with their bodies, a language that our participants will learn to “speak.” Learning to listen to a horse’s body language is, in large part, what keeps us safe around these large animals. During this process the visitors will learn to be focused, which assists them in becoming more attentive to their environment while increasing social interaction with others.