Ability Centered Horsemanship
Rider's Edge Ability Centered Horsemanship (REACH) serves individuals ages *5 and up with physical, emotional, cognitive and mental challenges in an inclusive environment. (*Children who are between 2 - 5 developmental age are eligible to participate in our occupational therapy program utilizing Early Intervention Hippotherapy.) We believe in a hands-on approach to learning and encourage our participants to be involved in all aspects of horsemanship. In addition to riding, we know that grooming, saddling, feeding the horses and barn chores all offer unique opportunities for learning and growth as equestrians, but there are also many physical and mental benefits to these activities as well. We encourage independence in a safe, inclusive environment where individual needs and goals are our primary consideration. There is a reason we call our program "Ability Centered Horsemanship" instead of "Therapeutic Riding".
We truly focus on abilities, not disabilities and horsemanship, not just riding!
Benefits of Horseback Riding
Horseback riding helps people with mental and physical challenges achieve a quality of life that is enhanced and improved. Based on input from doctors, therapists, teachers, parents and the student, individual goals are designed to complement ongoing therapy and education. The benefits of horseback riding are threefold:
Physical - The three-dimensional motion of the horse provides the rider hip, back and core action that simulates natural walking. Riding relaxes and strengthens muscles and improves body tone, posture, balance, joint mobility, and coordination.
Emotional - Contact with horses and horsemanship training provides a non-competitive setting for learning. New abilities, self-discipline, and improved concentration build self-confidence and emotional well-being. Participation in our programs can also foster a foundation of trust and emotional connection between both animals and humans alike.
Social - Horseback riding nurtures a positive self-image. Riders may, for the first time in their lives, experience some independence and a sense of being part of a team. It is an opportunity for them to interact with other students and their team, building relationships that will further enhance their positive self-image.
Download REACH documents below:
All REACH instructors are PATH Intl. Certified Instructors who possess the knowledge, skills and abilities to effectively and safely teach riding skills to individuals with and without disabilities. We offer adaptive riding, also commonly referred to as "therapeutic riding", to meet the needs of each individual. PATH Intl., defines it as an equine-assisted activity for the purpose of contributing positively to the cognitive, physical, emotional and social well-being of individuals with special needs. It is NOT "horse therapy." There are definitely therapeutic benefits of horse activities that impact a person in everyday life but true therapy is handled by a trained and credentialed therapist. REACH does offer early intervention occupational therapy services utilizing hippotherapy for children age 2 - 5 years old. Please see the hippotherapy page.
Lesson information and Fees:
Participants are grouped according to age, ability and goals as much as possible. Lessons are once per week at the same day and time each week. The REACH program operates approximately 36 weeks of the year. Fees are $40/lesson with 4 lessons each month. Currently, the majority of lessons are offered on Monday and Tuesday, but other days can be arranged. We can also accommodate siblings without special needs so families can ride together!
* REACH is a Missouri Care/Well Care network provider! If you are a member, ask your case manager if your child qualifies for equine services as part of your insurance plan!
**Wood's Edge Equestrian Center also offers traditional English riding lessons with the same hands-on philosophy and the same fees for children and adults without special needs.
There's something for everyone at Wood's Edge!