About the Program
Empowering Strides is a non-profit organization providing therapeutic horsemanship to neurodiverse youth who face behavioral, emotional and/or cognitive challenges. Through the use of horses we can offer youth a different perspective. Horses often mirror the emotions of their handler which allows the horse to teach a child far easier than an authoritative figure. Horses gently encourage a new awareness and connection in people that grows a person’s self-awareness and leadership abilities.
Therapeutic horsemanship not only means learning to ride a horse, it means much more. Many of the children we work with build a bond with the horse they ride, learn to care, understand how horses perceive the world around them and the people they interact with, and how to be a leader to their horse.
At Empowering Strides we teach in a careful and supportive way. A trained volunteer works beside each rider throughout their lesson while a certified instructor leads all classes. We set individual goals for each rider and patiently work on skills such as communication, teamwork and fitness. And, yes, one of our goals is “just pure fun.” Every rider learns some measure of riding and horse skills, and some riders become quite accomplished.
What is Therapeutic Horsemanship?
Therapeutic horsemanship uses the pleasures and skills of horseback riding and horse knowledge to build developmental, emotional, social, and physical skills for each individual rider.
Under the direction of a PATH International certified instructor, supported by trained volunteers, each rider progressively acquires riding skills and measurable improvements in life skills. Through weekly sessions, we help riders walk, talk, connect, focus, behave, learn, and have FUN!
Not all work needs to be on the back of the horse. This is why we refer to our program as Therapeutic Horsemanship and not strictly Therapeutic Riding. So many lessons can be learned on the ground with the direct input and response from the horse. Helping a horse overcome an obstacle can do wonders for the confidence and leadership of a child.