Why Horses?

Why Horses?!? is a question I hear often as the director of a therapeutic horseback riding program The answer seems simple to most who ask when they hear this explanation: the horses move diagonally, laterally, up and down and forward simultaneously. This simulates the human walking motion. While sitting on the horse and maintaining proper posture, the abdomen is exercised, which aids in vocalization.

Physically challenged individuals benefit from improved balance, posture, range of motion, circulation and stamina. The action of the horse relaxes and stimulates unused muscles and joints, builds muscle tone and improves coordination.

The warmth and rhythmic movement of the horse quiets and stimulates the senses required for a child with ADHD to maintain concentration and focus.

Riding exercises the mind as well as the body. Program participants with cognitive challenges develop better attention spans, listening skills and concentration. They learn to follow directions and enjoy the responsibility of giving directions to their horses.

For participants with emotional challenges, riding provides excellent opportunities for positive social interaction. Learning top respect and control their horses becomes a valuable first step toward controlling their own lives. The list truly goes on and on for the many benefits the horse provides.

Statistics aside, we at Free S.P.I.R.I.T. (Special People In Riding Therapy) Riders, Inc. know that our program activities enrich our participants’ lives, building confidence, pride, and self esteem. We hear it from the parents and guardians, therapists, teachers and counselors who tell us so. We know it from the growing demand for our program. But best of all, we know it in the expressions on our riders’ faces!

Free S.P.I.R.I.T. Riders, Inc. is a nonprofit organization committed to enriching the lives of children and adults with disabilities from Fond du Lac and the surrounding area through safe therapeutic interaction with horses. We are uniquely prepared and qualified to offer recreational opportunities to persons whose challenges prevent them from engaging in sport and recreation so readily available to others. We rely on the help of hundreds of volunteers to facilitate our services.