When participating in the mounted program at Dream On Curls Riding Center, a specific lesson plan is developed for each rider in order to meet the needs, goals and desires that the rider and instructor hope to accomplish. These plans are very individualized using skills required to be a strong equestrian and to build upon life skills and feelings such as self esteem, multi tasking, planning ahead, communication, relationships, being assertive rather than aggressive, self discipline and independence. At times work may be done completely on the ground to build a bond of trust and understanding between horse and rider. Examples of this may be working through an obstacle course, lunging, grooming, and tacking up the horse. As much as possible is done by the rider to enhance confidence and independence which in turns improves self esteem.
Work is also done to improve body awareness and how positions affect the horse both on the ground and in the saddle.
Research shows that students who participate in therapeutic riding can experience physical, emotional and mental rewards. Because horseback riding gently and rhythmically moves the rider's body in a manner similar to a human gait, riders with physical disabilities often show improvement in flexibility, balance and muscle strength. For those who cannot ride independently, there will be a leader (leading the horse) and side-walkers to steady the rider in the saddle. The rider can still benefit from the soothing therapeutic movements of the horse.
The three-dimensional, rhythmical motion of a horse stimulates and works the muscles of the rider. This three-dimensional, rhythmical motion thus stimulates and works muscles of the rider and provides normal sensory-motor input of “walking” to the rider. In addition, exercises and tasks that would be dreary or considered a “chore” in traditional therapy settings become fun and game-like if they are part of a riding therapy session.
As a rider progresses their mount may change due to their changing abilities with their body in order to best meet their needs.
Please be aware that not all participants are ready to ride - being in the saddle is at the discretion and judgment of the Instructor ! Working with a horse on the ground can offer many of the same benefits as riding -- and sometimes even more !
We do have a weight restriction for riders as well ..