Finding help on top of a horse

Aug 9, 2011

Therapeutic Riding, Inc., or TRI, uses horseback riding to help children and adults with disabilities.

Jody Scott, the president of TRI, lists cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome and multiple sclerosis as some of the disabilities TRI works with. Scott says, “If there’s some kind of challenge that an individual is facing, they will have an assessment to see if we would be a good fit.”

One of the riders that Scott works with has multiple sclerosis, and benefits physically from riding. Scott says, “[She] is able to, when the horse is moving, tighten up her core muscles so that she can balance correctly. Then she uses these same positions in her wheelchair, actually, to help hold her back up straight, and by sitting up straight it opens up her entire rib cage so she can breathe better.”

Horseback riding also has mental benefits. Scott says, “We have had some children who have never spoken a word, and their first words have been spoken while riding a horse at therapeutic riding.”

TRI helps students who are in danger of failing their classes. Scott says, “Once they have that experience of being able to control an animal that’s much bigger than they are, they build a sense of self confidence and realize that they can conquer the other challenges that they’re facing in their lives.”

- By Allison Lyons