Gotta follow the kid. The lesson is where a child wants to take you.
~ Loree Mahalchick
There’s no better feeling than when you make a breakthrough.
Common Questions Parents Have
Horseback Riding as Therapy
Riding horses is fun, and even people challenged with severe autism can do well at riding. Horses calm riders, allowing them to focus, think and accept training. Horses are bigger and stronger than a dog or cat, giving a child opportunities to tap into and develop his or her own inner strength.
Therapeutic riding has been shown to improve one’s balance, strength and motor coordination. It has also been proven to be effective in promoting language, sensory regulation as well as improving social skills as students often form an emotional bond with the horses they ride on. This then motivates riders to perform skill-building tasks.
While riding, each student's individual needs are being addressed through horse therapy such as speech, sensory, balance, behavior, cognitive processing and more. In addition to mounting and riding a horse, students will engage in activities such as grooming, feeding, and leading a horse. They also have the opportunity to interact with farm animals, learn about bees at our Bee Farm, walk through our vegetable garden, and see chicken coops.
We believe in "yesabilities". We love seeing our riders discover their own abilities, on their own terms, and find new ways to communicate as they develop their own relationships with horses. We love seeing that moment of "YES!" in their smiles the first time they learn a new skill, especially that first moment he or she gets on a horse.
How is your curriculum different from other horse farms
While we have specific goals while working with each child, we haven’t a structured curriculum. We work at your child's pace.
What is the process once I decide to choose HorseSense
I take time to meet each child, each family, before we agree to do lessons to make sure we are a good fit for each other.
What feedback have parents given about why they prefer your farm to others
Parents tell me what they like most is the peaceful setting of our farm. We have minimal volunteers, and one rider at a time. With less surrounding activity, their child feels less anxiety, and safe to learn.
Why is learning how to ride and care for horses special compared to other therapies
Horses can be an emotional mirror for humans. They respond to the feeling state we show. Horses are gentle, and honest. They calm riders, allowing children to focus, think and accept learning.
Can you give me an example of what kind of lessons my child will have
Children will throw colored balls into baskets while riding, touch their eyes, mouth, and ears, and identify scenes—all incorporated during riding. We teach our riders how to care for horses in addition to riding them. We set individual goals for each child.
What else makes you feel happy about working with the kids
The parents. Giving the parents of an autistic child 5 minutes of delight. Parents are often surprised at their child’s accomplishments, which gives my purpose of working their child added joy.