Most therapeutic riding horses are older and their work does not typically involve balance and bend work. The horses are asked to walk in straight lines or wide turns or listen to a beginner rider just turning their head. Outside of therapeutic riding, horses would usually have a warm-up and cool down period, do neck stretches and back stretches, and bend to a centered, balanced rider. We need to give our therapy horses a little extra care to make sure they stay healthy and happy.Continue reading
Horses are the lifeblood of our programs. Without the horse, therapeutic riding does not exist. So how do we make sure we are choosing the right horse? First, we need to identify the individual needs of our center. This includes looking at strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities. After we do that, we can start discussing how to choose a horse.Continue reading
This could also be two separate posts, but it’s time for me to wrap up the Off Horse Activities Series. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these posts and have learned something new! If you have been able to apply any of this in your own work, leave a comment! I would love to know.
But alas, it is time to turn toward our final post of the series: Markings & Attitudes of the Horse.Continue reading
The greatest lesson horses have taught me is to meet people where they are in that moment. Because horses are prey animals, they only live in the present. They need to be constantly aware of their surroundings in order to adapt to a situation on a moment’s notice; this does not allow them to dwell on the past or future.Continue reading
Tacking rounds out the fifth pillar of riding: groom, tack, ride, untack, groom. Teaching riders to tack gives them the complete picture of riding their horse, helps them learn a new skill, and puts their physical body to work.
Tacking can include actually tacking up a horse or it can be used to teach riders about different types of tack. In therapeutic riding activities, we typically see English and Western saddles, bareback pads, surcingles, and possibly Australian saddles, side saddles, or adaptive equipment.
There are also different types of pads and girths, halters and bridles, and accessories like a martingale. You can adapt the lesson to your individual riders based on how in-depth you want the lesson to be. The beauty of tacking is that it can be taught over a few weeks to cover all the basic tack and also teach parts of the tack.
I typically use tacking to teach riders how to tack up their horse correctly and to learn the parts of tack. Sometimes we clean tack and learn each piece of tack and other times we will tack up the horse. I find tack lessons usually help engage the rider mentally and it is easy to bring them back to the task at hand if they get distracted.
Do you teach tacking in your lessons? What’s something you’ve noticed when your riders learn about tack? Let me know in the comments below!
What You Need:
A Loud Voice
Colored Cue Cards (optional)
This is a game that can be played in a private, semi-private, or group lesson. It works best for younger riders, but you can make it more advanced to appeal to older riders.