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Why Therapy With Horses

Horseback riding is a progressive form of therapy for individuals with physical and emotional challenges. When a rider is mounted, the movement of the horse replicates the human gait in rhythm, symmetry and three dimensional movement, an experience that is difficult to replicate in a traditional therapy environment. The horse’s motion allows the rider to improve muscular strength, coordination and balance. Interaction with the horses also provides psychosocial benefits for riders and program participants who work with the horses in other ways. The horses, instructors and volunteers create a fun and caring environment that enables participants to gain valuable communication and coping skills and increased self-confidence.


Proven Benefits


  • Improved balance, muscle strength & coordination
  • Faster reflexes & better motor planning
  • Increased range of motion of the joints
  • Improved respiration & circulation
  • Stretching of tight or spastic muscles


  • Exercise in fresh air on a farm away from a clinical environment
  • Improved self-confidence, independence & freedom of movement without walkers & wheelchairs
  • Increased self-esteem & sense of responsibility by gaining skills required to control animals much larger/stronger than oneself
  • Improved risk-taking abilities & problem-solving concepts
  • Development of patience, cooperation and communication skills
  • Increased emotional control & self-discipline

To enroll with SDTR:

Step One: The Rider Application and the Physician's Statement must be completed.
Step Two: Contact SDTR when your application is complete.
Step Three: Evaluation will be set up. This will usually entail riding.
Step Four: Participant will be assigned a schedule.

Visit our Resources page for more information about SDTR.

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