Therapeutic riding is an equine-assisted activity for the purpose of contributing positively to the cognitive, physical, emotional and social well-being of individuals with special needs.
See program descriptions below (under 'Who Can Ride')
Some of the many Benefits of Therapeutic Riding
Development of mobility, balance and co-ordination
Improvement of muscle tone and strength
Increased concentration and improved learning skills
A challenging recreational activity
Independence, integration and a sense of achievement
Development of self confidence and motivation
Who Can Ride?
Before participating in a Therapeutic Riding Program, all rider candidates must have a medical doctor complete a physician referral form. People with disabilities should not participate in therapeutic riding until a medical advisor and another appropriate professional such as a physiotherapist or an occupational therapist, have evaluated them and determined that riding is a safe and suitable activity for them. The program reserves the right to determine the candidate’s suitability for inclusion in the program. If riders experience any changes in the nature or extent of their disability, they must obtain a physician’s update.
The following conditions may represent precautions or contraindications to therapeutic horseback riding if present in potential participants. Therefore, when completing the physician’s referral, please note whether these conditions are present and to what degree.
Acute herniated disc or prolapsed disc
Coax arthrosis (degeneration of hip joint)
Structural cranial deficits
Structural scoliosis >30 degrees, excessive kyphosis or lordosis or hemivertebra
Spinal stenosis (Hip subluxation, dislocation or dysplasia (one hip))
CVA secondary to unclipped aneurysm or angioma
Paralysis due to spinal cord injury above T6 (adult)
Spina bifida associations – Chiari II malformations, hydromyelia, tethered cord
Uncontrolled seizures within the last 6 months
Age under 5 years old
Any condition that the instructor, therapist, physician or program does not feel comfortable accepting into the program
RELATIVE CONTRAINDICATIONS AND PRECAUTIONS:
Hip subluxation, dislocation or dysphasia
Spinal fusion/fixation, Harrington Rod (within 2 years of surgery)
Anticoagulants (bleeding risk)
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Gullian Barre Syndrome
Exacerbation of Multiple Sclerosis
Post Polio Syndrome
MEDICAL / PSYCHOSOCIAL
Abusive or disruptive behaviour
History of skin breakdown or skin grafts
Incontinence (must wear protection)
Peripheral vascular disease
Serious heart condition or hypertension
Surgery within the last three months
FLEXION/EXTENSION X-RAY REQUIRED FOR ATRAUMATIC FACTORS THAT MAY BE ASSOCIATED WITH AN UNSTABLE UPPER CERVICAL SPINE
Athetoid cerebral palsy
Rheumatoidarthritis of cervical vertebrae
Congenital atlanto-occipital instability
Chiari malformation with condylar hyperplasia
Fusion of C2-C3
Lateral mass degeneration change at C1-C2
Non-rheumatoid cranial settling
Subluxation of upper cervical vertebrae due to tumours or infection
Idiopathic laxity of the ligaments
Diffuse idiopathic hyperostosis
PROGRAMS FOR RIDERS WITH DISABILITIES
KTRA currently runs 2 sessions per year: Spring Session (April-June) - 12 weeks long Fall Session (Sept-Oct) - 8 weeks long
LIBERTE PROGRAM “Liberte” is French for Freedom and equality. The“Liberte” program offers youth and adults with physical disabilities, such as Cerebral Palsy, Stroke victims, Traumatic Brain Injuries, Muscular Dystrophy,therapeutic benefits of horseback riding. Through equine assisted lessons riders bodies in the “Liberte”program are rhythmically moved in a manner similar to our human gait, it helps riders improve their flexibility, balance and muscle strength to name only a few of the many benefits. “A horse’s movement is used for improvement in posture, balance, and overall function in children with cerebral palsy. (It is)further stated that therapeutic riding heightened vestibular function, proprioception, and created a continual change in visual fields” (Asselin, Ward,Penning, Ramanujam, & Neri, 2012, pp. 270-271).Clients in our Liberty Program ride on a weekly basis and are either 30 min semi-private (2 people) or 30-60 min private, based on each rider’s needs for an 8 week session. Clients learn equestrian skills while building muscle strength, balance and a sense of freedom while working on various patterns and obstacle courses suited to each rider.
SPORT RIDERS We have been fortunate to instruct a number of riders from both the Liberte and Monarch Programs to a level able to compete at local shows in both Western and English classes. For this reason we have created the Sport Rider Program. Riders involved in this program have worked towards riding independently (without a leader or side support) and are interested in competing. This is a great goal for new riders in our programs. Typically, riders in this program have been riding with us a minimum of 4 sessions. This program provides increased self-esteem and improvement in socialization skills. Sport Rider lessons are delivered on a weekly basis and are either 30 min semi-private (2 people) or 30-60 min private based on each rider’s needs, for an 8 week session. Clients learn equestrian skills while continuing to build cognitive, physical and emotional well-being.
MONARCH PROGRAM The Monarch Program was created for those with behavioral, cognitive and sensory disabilities to be able to soar to new heights. The group of riders that we serve in this program include Autism Spectrum,Attention Deficit Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury,Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Downs Syndrome and Dementia. Therapeutic riding offers clients in this program the ability to increase capacity of socialization, enhance sensory processing ability and it has been noted that it results in an overall decrease in symptom severity. It is this group of individuals that show the pure enjoyment that they receive from the connection they have with their horse. They learn to imitate the horses’ quiet and calm nature. Client's in our Monarch Program ride on a weekly basis and are either 30 min semi-private (2 people) or 30-60 min private based on each rider’s needs for an 8 week session. Clients learn equestrian skills while learning how to interact effectively with instructors, volunteers, other riders and their equine partners.
SIBLING BONDING PROGRAM Siblings of children with disabilities often experience stress and lack positive attention, for this reason KTRA has developed the Sibling Bonding Program to include siblings of our riders with disabilities to help build their bond, boost confidence and promote a deeper understanding of equestrian therapy and how it enriches the whole family. Often siblings seem to understand each other more than anyone else in the family. They provide confidence and security to their brother or sister with a disability. Sometimes the disabled sibling can feel lost or upset without their brother or sister so it makes sense to include them in the therapeutic environment. Clients in our Sibling Bonding Program ride together on a weekly basis in a 30-60 min private lesson for an 8 week session.