About Therapeutic Horseback Riding
Going Forward Equestrian Development is a newly established not-for-profit organization offering horseback riding lessons to anyone, adult or child, with special needs. Our program welcomes both physical and cognitive disabilities - newcomers or those already with experience. Horseback riding offers a unique form of therapy, rehabilitation and physical activity.
Our program operates out of Creekside Equestrian Centre, located just outside of Antigonish, NS. The facility provides a safe, welcoming environment with professional coaches and instructors. The horses in the program are healthy, well-trained school horses. The facility runs the lessons in both an outdoor and an indoor arena - allowing all weather, year round riding opportunities.
This program was created to service people with special needs who wish to develop horseback riding skills, or to simply spend time with horses. Those who wish to participate in competitions will have opportunities to do so. Long term goals include starting a grass roots movement across Canada to include equestrian events in the Special Olympics.
The therapeutic value of riding was first recognized by the Ancient Greeks. Riding programs for handicapped people have been existence for years in Europe and have been established more recently in North America.
The many benefits of therapeutic riding include:
- Development of mobility, balance and co-ordination
- Relaxation of spastic muscles, strengthening of weak muscles
- Improvement in muscle control
- Improvement in concentration
- Development of self-confidence, motivation
- Sense of achievement
Classes are currently being held Monday evenings from 6 - 8 pm. Additional times may be available upon request. Classes are scheduled and grouped accordingly after initial consultation. Financial assistance is available. Volunteers are welcome - on-site training will be provided for all volunteers. Contact information is below for anyone interested in registering a participant, becoming a volunteer, or making a donation (income tax receipts can be issued).
For more information please email or call:
Riders in our program are taught normal principles of horse care and equitation. Specific therapeutic activities and equipment modifications are incorporated according to the individual needs of each rider, by physiotherapists, occupational therapists and paramedical professionals. As with all therapeutic riding programs, safety and enjoyment are considered of paramount importance.
In addition to a riding instructor, our riders are given physical and moral support by volunteers; sometimes as many as three assistants may be required for one horse/rider combination. Rider's fees are kept at an absolute minimum to ensure availability to all.
Reins of Life
I saw a child who could not walk
Sit on a horse and laugh and talk
Then ride it through a field of daises
And yet he could not walk unaided
I saw a child, no legs below
Sit on a horse and make it go
through weeks of green
And places he had never been
to sit and stare
except from a chair
I saw a child who could only crawl
mount a horse and sit up tall
Put it through degrees and paces
and laugh and wonder at our faces
I saw a child born into strife
take up and hold the reins of life
and that same child, I heard him say
Thanks, God, for showing me the way.
(By J.A. Davis, Arch. Phys. Med. Rehab., Oct. 1974)
A Huge Thank You to Our Sponsors:
*If you're interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact us for more information! Donations are always welcome.