About Us

What is Therapeutic Riding?

This specialized therapy has not only been proven to be successful in developing and enhancing physical abilities, but has also proven to encourage trust, to promote communication, and to nurture emotional stability. During this amazing process, horses help physically and mentally challenged riders achieve things that may have seemed impossible.

In regards to the physical benefits, therapeutic riding is beneficial due to the rhythmic motion of the horse. Because a horse’s walking stride is similar in length and cadence to a human’s stride, the pelvic movement mimics the action of walking. This motion provides vital exercise for riders who cannot walk independently. In addition, the rider’s efforts to maintain balanced seating while mounted, help to strengthen their trunk and spine.

 

The bond between humans and horses is well known.  This bond opens and establishes a trust and communication level that the individual may not have ever known before.  As they work with the horse, barriers are removed and they are able to express emotions openly without judgement.

 


How can Therapeutic Riding make a difference?

While mounted on the horse, riders learn balance, coordination and self-assurance. Riders show marked improvement in their poise, posture, strength and flexibility. Eye/hand coordination and dexterity abilities are developed while receiving therapeutic muscle stimulation.

Our riders participate in carefully planned lessons that are tailor-made to their needs. The sessions challenge the riders mentally as well as physically. Individuals gain the ability to trust again, and improve their ability to interact with others. Those with learning disabilities perform better in school–all due to their participation in the therapeutic riding program.

Studies have proven autistic children make connections and show improvement in their communication skills and their ability to concentrate. Individuals confined to a wheelchair experience a new freedom. The unsure person’s confidence builds; and, often the depression caused by chronic pain is eased. An increased range of motion and muscle tone, improved motor skills better balance, posture and coordination are also common results seen with this type of therapy. Dramatic improvements in spatial awareness, self-awareness and self-discipline, and, most importantly, increased self-esteem are also commonly observed outcomes.

Therapeutic riding is not new, but new applications have expanded its impact.

 

Here’s one life that has been changed –Brandon is one of our first students. He came to Open My World with weak muscle tone, low energy and a tendency to shuffle his feet. Brandon connected to the horses immediately. But like many individuals who have Down Syndrome, he was accustomed to having almost everything done for him. He would begin to do a task asked of him and then just turn and look at you, waiting for you to help him or do it for him.

  

  

Brandon at RodeoAs he developed his strength, it became apparent he had excellent balance and his riding form was perfect. Brandon participated in the Austin’s Rodeo horse show (Gold Stirrup) and won a 1st place belt buckle. His sessions include not only mounted riding, but care of the horse, grooming, and other activities which require problem solving. According to his parents, Open My World changed not only Brandon’s life but their lives as well.