At Halleck Creek Ranch, we believe that equine-assisted services and therapeutic horseback riding encourages each of our participants to live a life without barriers. For students this means a healthier body and calmer mind, as well as a chance to access the great outdoors. For volunteers, their interactions with our students teaches them that people with disabilities can do anything they want to, they just have to do it a little differently.
Horseback riding offers a variety of benefits to those who take part: the barrel of the horse helps stretch legs and strengthen core muscles as it moves from side to side, improving one’s ability to sit or stand. The natural movement of the horse increases flexibility and balance, leading to increased ability to walk or run. And holding one’s reins and learning to use them to direct the horse’s movement helps develop hand strength and coordination, which in turn can help a person eat independently or write legibly. Being empowered to make decisions and learn to and control a large animal also increases self-esteem and promotes relaxation, improving a rider’s relationships with themselves, their friends, and their family. In addition, riding a horse engages the senses: sight, smell and sound, often all at one time. It is challenging, motivating and fun, and here at Halleck Creek Ranch, we offer a safe and supportive environment in which everyone thrives.
About the Sessions
WEEKDAY SMALL GROUP RIDING SESSIONS
Weekday lessons on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays are held in 45 minute time slots between 11:00am and 4:00pm. During the week we offer group and individual riding sessions that focus on tasks designed to enable the rider to achieve measurable goals at the end of each 8-week session. If needed, our staff can work one-on-one with individual riders.
SATURDAY GROUP RIDING SESSIONS
The group sessions on Saturdays emphasize the social connections between riders and volunteers, and the therapeutic connections between people, animals and nature. There are three sessions every Saturday between 9 am and 3:00pm. Staff members and volunteers work together as a team to help riders through their session. Each rider is assigned volunteer helpers according to their needs.
Each group session begins with stretching and warm-up exercises in the covered arena. These activities are designed to relax the rider and to encourage interaction between the rider and their horse and volunteer helpers. At the completion of the warm-ups and lesson, the group enjoys a trail ride. Going up and down hills, traversing creek beds and watching out for tree limbs and wildlife challenges riders and volunteers to remain active and engaged with each other and the environment.