We are dedicated to improve the bodies, minds, spirits and quality of life of persons with physical and/or developmental disabilities and/or mental illnesses through equine-assisted activities.
Our vision is to afford participants opportunities for mainstream integration, normalization, and socialization as they are challenged by professional instructors, therapists and/or trained volunteers as they improve their physical and mental health, social skills, and gain a sense of accomplishment, control and acceptance. We are committed to being an inspiration and educational resource to the equine-assisted therapy profession. We also advocate the healing and humane relationship between horses and humans.
QOH lessons focus on abilities - not disabilities
Students are usually referred to the Center by physicians, therapists, teachers, family members and friends. Our students are challenged by various disabling conditions including cerebral palsy, spina bifida, paraplegia, sight and hearing deficit, developmental and learning disabilities. Their ages range from preschool through the senior adult years. To accommodate the vast array of participant needs, an individual lesson plan is constructed for each student by the student’s therapist and/or the Center’s head instructor. Therefore, all participants are able to develop their strengths and overcome their weaknesses.
How Does It Work?
For those students with physical challenges, the three-dimensional movement a rider experiences while astride the horse’s back provides a precise and repetitive pattern similar to the human walk. While walking, the horse’s center of gravity shifts forward and back, up and down, and side to side. The rider’s body responds to the motions with improved body symmetry and muscle tone, increased head and neck control, and learned balance.
The horse’s movement also provides the rider with strong sensory input in the areas of the brain that registers touch and motion stimulation, making it an excellent therapy for persons needing these therapeutic benefits. Riding is also good for the cardiovascular system and provides the rider with aerobic strength.
There are cognitive and psychological benefits from riding as well. The lesson formats encourage riders to plan and execute sequenced activities that help them improve their information processing abilities. Instructors use props, games and exercises, so individuals with cognitive disabilities can learn to perform more complex and difficult tasks on horseback. Many daily living skills and basic education objectives are incorporated into riding lessons.The Center offers a year-round program that includes group and individual riding lessons, equine-assisted therapies and other horse-related activities.