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Equine Assisted Activities & Therapies

CATR's instructors offer equine assisted activities and therapies (EAAT) to children and adults with disabilities and wounded military veterans. Currently CATR offers three types of EAAT: Therapeutic Riding, Interactive Vaulting and Groundwork Activities.

Therapeutic Riding

Therapeutic Riding lessons are equestrian skill-based lessons for children and adults with disabilities. The focus of the lessons is skill development and progression while improving the rider's physical, cognitive, emotional and/or social skills. Helping the rider reach their full potential is of paramount importance. Taught by a certified therapeutic riding instructor, and assisted by volunteer aids, the lessons offered are group, semi-private or private and are 45 minutes to 1 hour long. As much as possible, the riders participate in pre-mounted and post-mounted horse care.

Interactive Vaulting

Interactive Vaulting engages participants in movements around, on and off the moving horse and on a static barrel. These movements can be very simple such as sitting without holding onto the surcingle or a more elaborate position such as kneeling or standing on the horse. The certified Interactive Vaulting instructor supervises a specially trained horse that works in a large circle on a lunge line at the walk, trot and sometimes the canter. The dynamic environment offers movement and exercise, while also encouraging creativity, confidence and positive social interaction. Students participate in games on and around the horse that promote team building, communication skills, fine and gross motor skills, motor planning and spatial awareness.

Groundwork Activities

Groundwork Activity lessons are designed to focus on equestrian skills, such as horse care, grooming, leading, lunging or long-lining. Sometimes called "unmounted lessons," groundwork does not involve riding the horse, but rather seeks to further the student's physical, cognitive, emotional and/or social development while he or she interacts with the horses on the ground. Students who participate in our groundwork programs find them engaging and rewarding, often naming increased confidence and developing a special bond with the horse as key benefits. Groundwork is also great exercise! Taught by a certified therapeutic riding instructor, and assisted by trained volunteers, the lessons offered are group, semi-private or private and are 45 minutes to 1 hour long.

Benefits

Students ages 4 and up that have physical and cognitive disabilities can benefit from Therapeutic Riding, Interactive Vaulting and Groundwork. Students may see improvements in:

  • Balance
  • Muscle strength
  • Physical endurance
  • Range of motion
  • Circulation
  • Respiration
  • Sensorimotor integration
  • Communication
  • Confidence
  • Motivation
  • Human Animal bonding skills
  • Social skills
  • Responsiveness and adaptability
  • Flexibility

For more information about participating in EAAT at CATR, visit our New Students Page.