Southern Therapeutic Riding – Using Horses to Help Children and Adults with Disabilities

Southern Therapeutic Riding – Using Horses to Help Children and Adults with Disabilities


♪>>>ALL RIGHT, IF YOU THINK ABOUT THIS FOR A MOMENT, WINNING HERE THE WORDS THERAPY ANIMAL, YOU PROBABLY THINK OF A DOG, RIGHT? WELL, ACCORDING TO THE REGISTRY, IT CAN BE A CAT OR RABBIT OR ANY OTHER ANIMAL THAT HAS BEEN TRAINED TO GET ALONG WITH HUMANS.>>AND THE FOLKS AT SOUTHERN DELAWARE THERAPEUTIC RIDING HAVE BEEN USING HORSES TO HELP CHILDREN AND ADULTS WITH DISABILITIES SINCE 1988. NOW, I DID A STORY A FEW YEARS AGO WITH THEM, AND THEY HAVE SINCE MOVED TO A PERMANENT LOCATION.>>AND THEIR NEW PART HAS ALLOWED THEM TO EXPAND AND MEET THE NEEDS OF POOR PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY, AND FOR THOSE WHO UTILIZE A UNIQUE FORM OF THERAPY, IT IS CERTAINLY A LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCE. ♪>>FOR 14-YEAR-OLD ANNE-MARIE PARADA, HORSEBACK RIDING IS MORE THAN JUST A HOBBY, AND THESE AREN’T YOUR TYPICAL HORSES. THIS IS KNOWN AS EQUINE ASSISTED THERAPY.>>THAT’S MY GIRL, THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!>>ANNE-MARIE HAS CEREBRAL PALSY, AND EACH WEEK SHE JOINS A TEAM OF SPECIALLY TRAINED INSTRUCTORS AT SOUTHERN DELAWARE THERAPEUTIC RIDING TO WORK ON THINGS LIKE BALANCE, STRENGTH AND STRETCHING.>>Child: WELL, I CAN BE WITH MY MOTHER AND I ENJOYED A LOT.>>ANNE-MARIE’S MOTHER BRIDGET SAID THEY INITIALLY GOT THEIR DAUGHTER INTO THE PROGRAM AFTER NOTICING SHE WAS HAVING TROUBLE SITTING UP STRAIGHT AT HER BROTHERS FOOTBALL GAMES.>>Woman: AS SOON AS WE STARTED WRITING IN THE PROGRAM, IT WAS WONDERFUL. FOR THE FIRST SEASON AND STARTED IN THE SEASON, AND I FOOTBALL SEASON CAME, SHE WAS SITTING ERECT IN THE STADIUM BY HERSELF, AND IT WAS JUST A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE, AND EVERYBODY AROUND RECOGNIZED.>>JOE PETE IS ANOTHER EQUESTRIAN WHO HAS EXPERIENCED THE BENEFITS OF WRITING.>>YOU LIKE RIDING HORSES, JOE? YES, SIR NO? YES, RIGHT? [LAUGHTER] TELL YOU ALL, RIGHT?>>JOE HAS BEEN IN THE PROGRAM FOR EIGHT YEARS. HIS MOTHER SUSAN SAID IT’S SOMETHING HE CAN CALL HIS OWN.>>WELL, JOE IS THE YOUNGEST OF FOUR BOYS. WE HAVE FOUR BOYS. OUR OTHER SONS ARE VERY ATHLETIC, THEIR OLDER, SO HE WAS ALWAYS WATCHING THEM, GOING TO THE EVENTS AND THINGS LIKE THAT, AND NOW IT IS THIS TIME TO SHINE, AND HE REALLY DOES WELL AND WE LOVE IT. [LAUGHTER] >>BOTH SUSAN AND BRIDGES ADMIT THEY WERE A LITTLE NERVOUS LETTING THEIR CHILDREN WRITE SUCH BIG ANIMALS, BUT THANKS TO THE STAFF, THE FEAR QUICKLY DISAPPEARED.>>Woman: THEY ARE AMAZING. TRULY. I GET TEARFUL TALKING ABOUT IT BECAUSE IT PUT IN SO MUCH TIME AND IT IS SELFLESS. PART OF THE STAFF OR THE HORSES. KELLY IS A CERTIFIED INSTRUCTOR AND VICE PRESIDENT OF SOUTHERN DELAWARE THERAPEUTIC WRITING. SHE SAID WHATEVER THE SITUATION, THE HORSES JUST SEEM TO KNOW HOW TO ACT.>>Woman: THEY ARE VERY SENSITIVE ANIMALS AND ARE VERY IN TUNE TO OUR NEEDS, SO THEY PROVIDE PATIENTS, THEY PROVIDE UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. JUDGE PEOPLE.>>NOW, THESE AREN’T YOUR AVERAGE RUN OF THE MILL HORSES. THEY ARE BASICALLY FOUR-LEGGED THERAPIST, SO EACH HORSE GOES THROUGH A THREE MONTH TRIAL PERIOD MAKE SURE THEY HAVE THE RIGHT TEMPERAMENT AND PERSONALITY FOR THE JOB.>>AND DOES TAKE A VERY SPECIAL HORSE, ALMOST, THEY CANNOT BE TOO HORSE LIKE, IF THAT MAKES ANY SENSE, BECAUSE WE DON’T WANT A COURSE THAT IS SPOOKY. THEY HAVE TO BE ABLE TO HANDLE NOISES FROM BOTH THE RIDER, AND AROUND THE ENVIRONMENT. THEY HAVE TO BE ABLE TO HANDLE MOVEMENTS ON THE BACK THAT MAY NOT BE NORMAL, AND THEY HAVE TO BE ABLE TO BE CALM THROUGH ANY CIRCUMSTANCES THAT MIGHT ARISE FROM THE RIDER ON THEIR BACK.>>BUT PERHAPS THE BEST QUALITY, THEIR ABILITY TO MAKE PEOPLE SMILE. ♪.>>NOW, SOUTHERN DELEWARE THERAPEUTIC RIDING IS OPEN TO PEOPLE FOR AND UP IN THE OLDEST WRITER IS IN THEIR 70S. SINCE THEY MOVED TO THE NEW LOCATION, THEY ARE LOOKING FOR NEW WAYS TO HELP THE COMMUNITY, JUST AN AMAZING ORGANIZATION.>>OH MY GOODNESS.>>SO OBVIOUSLY THERE ARE PHYSICAL BENEFITS, BUT ARE THERE OTHER BENEFITS FOR THE WRITERS, TO?>>OF COURSE. THEY LEARN TO COMMUNICATE. OBVIOUSLY WHEN YOU’RE RIDING A HORSE, YOU HAVE TO TELL THEM TO STOP AND GO. HAVE OBJECTS PLACED AROUND THE RIDING RING, SO IF THE WRITER IS WRITING AROUND AND THEY SEE SOMETHING THEY WANT TO PLAY WITH HER CRAP, TELL THE HORSE TO STOP, THEY GO TO THE SITE AND GET IT, WHETHER IT IS A TOY OR A BALL OR A STUFFED ANIMAL. SOME OF THE PARTICIPANTS IN THIS PROGRAM HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO CARE FOR THE HORSES, WHETHER IT IS BRUSHING AND LEARNING TO TAKE CARE OF THEM, TO PUT THE TACK ON THE BACK OF THE COURSE, SO THERE ARE A LOT OF DIFFERENT ASPECTS, AND IT IS ALL TO THE PERSON’S ABILITY, AND IT IS JUST REALLY, REALLY NEED.>>DOESN’T COST ANYTHING FOR THE WRITERS? BASE THERE IS A FEE, BUT THE SOUTHERN DELAWARE THERAPEUTIC WRITING, THEY SAID THEY DON’T TURN ANYONE AWAY. SO IF YOU CAN’T AFFORD IT, THEY WILL WORK WITH YOU TO MAKE IT POSSIBLE. AND IT IS GREAT THAT THEY DO THAT BECAUSE IT IS REALLY REALLY HAS SOME BENEFITS.>>IS THERE ANYTHING WE CAN DO TO HELP?>>WELL, THEY ALWAYS NEED VOLUNTEERS, WHETHER YOU ARE A CERTIFIED INSTRUCTOR SO THEY ARE PAST CERTIFIED, WHICH IS A PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION OF THERAPEUTIC HORSEMANSHIP. THEY PROVIDE CERTIFICATION FOR THE INSTRUCTORS TO LEARN HOW TO PROPERLY HELP THE WRITERS. OBVIOUSLY, THEY ARE NOT JUST A NORMAL STUDENT WHERE THEY CAN THROW THEM ON THE HORSEBACK AND LET THEM GO.>>RIGHT.>>USEFUL IN SOME CASES, THEY HAD THREE INSTRUCTORS WITH ONE STUDENT, BUT THAT VARIES FROM STUDENT TO STUDENT, SO SOME COULD HAVE THREE, AND SOMEDAY LET RIDE BY THEMSELVES, DEPENDING ON THEIR ABILITY. AND IF YOU’RE NOT A HORSE PERSON, THEY NEED HELP FUNDRAISING, RAISING AWARENESS, SO ANYTHING YOU CAN DO TO HELP, YOU CAN HELP.>>AND I UNDERSTAND THAT YOU CAN ACTUALLY GO TO A DANCE TO HELP?>>THERE IS A DANCE, A VALENTINE’S DAY DANCE ON FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 12 IN GEORGETOWN. THERE IS DANCING AND DINNER,

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