Our goal for the equine programs is to help our clients with special needs become as independent, strong and confident as possible through the magic of hands-on horsemanship activities and horseback riding lessons. Our individually designed plans will help recognize the rider’s specific needs and develops short and long term goals that push each client to a higher level of health, strength and well being.
Each program is taught by PATH International (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) certified instructors. Whatever type of equine-assisted therapy an individual chooses, our goal is to help them achieve their personal best in a friendly, professional and consistent environment.
Horseback Riding Lessons
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. Because 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, the same volunteers and instructors for each lesson. This will allow the student to strengthen the bond even deeper between horse and client. Please contact us for schedule availability.
At Whispering Meadows we offer the opportunity to participate in non-riding activities that still incorporate therapeutic human-horse interaction. One such activity is our Equine Learning and Barn Education Program. Lessons may include general safety and awareness, horse health care, barn management and equine behavior.
These activities provide the opportunity for developing strength and endurance while taking pride in accomplishments. Students have the chance to work together and help one another. They also have the opportunity to build relationships with the volunteers, the instructors and the horses they care for. This helps with the development of social and team building skills while enhancing cooperation and respect for others.
In response to several community and caregiver inquiries, the Ranch has recently 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 contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Benefits of our Equine Programs
Many of the guests that visit Whispering Meadows have physical disabilities, challenges that may limit them and obstacles they must overcome on a daily basis. Horses are the great equalizer. The development of the human-equine bond assists these individuals in gaining respect, trust and leadership skills. These skills are then carried forward after students leave the farm environment. Individuals are 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 guests 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.