UPDATED: November 2nd, 2006
Therapeutic riding is an individualized program of learning to ride a horse which takes into account a person's physical, mental, and emotional strengths and limitations. The horses, staff, and volunteers involved in therapeutic riding have all been carefully selected and trained to accommodate the physical, mental, or social disabilities of the rider.
Improved physical strength, balance, mobility and coordination are accomplished through the physical act of riding a horse. Increased attention, concentration, learning, and verbal skills are inherent in learning the skills necessary to ride successfully. Bonding with the horse, making new friends, and respecting authority are some of the social improvements we see. Improvements in self esteem, self control, and confidence also arise from the experience of success in learning to ride. Therapeutic riding is fun and effective!
The 4-H Therapeutic Riding Program of Carroll County will provide persons with disabilities the opportunity to benefit from a continuous program of therapeutic horseback riding, in a safe environment, under the instruction of professionally trained staff, at a locally available facility.
It is the policy of the MD Cooperative Extension that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the grounds of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, age, marital or parental status, or disability.
The 4-H Therapeutic Riding Program of Carroll County was established in 1978 to provide an opportunity for children and adults with disabilities to benefit from riding horses. Beginning with lessons at a local farm, the program moved to the Ag Center outdoor ring and then to the indoor arena in 1997. Everyone associated with the 4-H Therapeutic Riding Program is a volunteer, including riding instructors, therapists, horse handlers, and side-walkers.
Our horses were originally borrowed and brought to lessons weekly. Now all are donated, loaned or leased to the program. During each session they are stabled and cared for on land loaned by the
In its 28 years of operation, more than 100 horses and 4000 volunteers have worked together to provide therapeutic riding classes to more than 2000 riders.
4-H TRP of Carroll County offers a one-hour lesson of 4 to 6 riders, similar in age or ability, that focuses on individual riding skills while gaining a therapeutic benefit. These benefits include improving muscle tone and strength, improving hand/eye coordination and balance, improving peer interaction and communication, increasing self-esteem, and developing a sense of control. Ten-week sessions are held each fall and spring. Each session seats 45-50 riders using 7 horses, assisted by 50 volunteers. Volunteers accrue more than 1300 hours of service during each session.
At the beginning of each session Instructors establish goals for each rider, working with the rider, parents or guardian. They create a wide variety of activities and exercises designed to increase the student's ability to listen, learn, and communicate.
Riders work on their horsemanship skills and willingness to try new things. Students may be taught how to help groom and tack their horses. Classes include arena riding, trail rides, and group activities.
For some riders this is their competitive sport of choice. They strive to compete at the local, national, and international levels in equestrian sports. 4-H TRP riders regularly compete in horse shows at Freedom Hills, Thorncroft,