REACH offers therapeutic
riding lessons for individuals with special needs. The mission of
Stoneymeade's REACH program it to make a positive contribution to the
cognitive, physical, emotional, and social well being of its students. We
provide one-on-one individualized instruction for students in the program.
Stoneymeade's REACH program maintains a safe and nurturing environment for
its students. The farm offers lessons at no charge to families who qualify
for financial aid. REACH horses and ponies have been trained to manage
the demands of therapeutic riding instruction.
Therapeutic Riding uses
equine assisted activities for the purpose of contributing positively to
the physical, cognitive, emotional and social well being of individuals
with disabilities. Therapeutic riding lessons are designed for the
specific needs of each rider. Lesson activities can include care and
grooming of a horse, basic or advanced horsemanship skills, and multiple
games or learning activities done from the back of a horse. Therapeutic
riding lessons have many benefits:
three-dimensional motion of the horse simulates natural walking. Physical
Stretching of tight
or spastic muscles
abnormal movement patterns
Increased range of
motion of the joints
respiration and circulation
provides individuals with a non-competitive learning environment.
Educational benefits include:
patterning and planning
and critical thinking skills
integration and participation
and auditory discrimination
horses provides a nurturing setting for emotional learning. Emotional
General sense of
in one's own life
in the outside world
Expansion of the
locus of control
Mastery of a
cause and effect
Promote ability to
solicit help and act independently
positive role models
in nurturing environment
respect and love for animals
How to participate
Who Can Ride?
REACH serves children
and adults with a variety of special needs. There is no "typical" REACH
participant, as our program is designed to benefit individuals with a wide
variety of disabilities. Students in our program may have physical
challenges, emotional issues, developmental delays or learning
disabilities. For example, students who participate in therapeutic riding
may have: Pervasive Developmental Delay, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Attention
Deficit Disorder, Developmental Delay, Learning Disabilities, Down
Syndrome, Emotional Difficulties, Genetic Disorders, Cancer, or
The minimum age for
becoming a REACH participant is 4 years. We accept riders with all
special needs and disabilities, providing that NARHA (North American
Riding for the Handicap Association) does not list the disability as a
contraindication to riding, and a doctor signs a release indicating that,
in his or her opinion, riding would be indicated for this person. An
initial evaluation by one of our certified instructors is required before
anyone is accepted into our program.
after the Initial Evaluation?
After the initial
evaluation, goals are set for the rider for each current semester.
Instructors work closely with families and consult their child's medical,
education, and social service specialists to develop the most appropriate
lesson goals. These may include physical, emotional and/or behavioral
goals. They may also include riding goals. Student progress is
documented on a weekly basis in order to best determine success of
semester goals. At the end of the semester, the rider is reassessed to
see if the goals have been met, and to set new goals for the next
There are no "typical"
lessons. Lessons are designed with the each rider's goals and needs in
mind. Lessons are 1/2 hour long, and usually include warm-up exercises,
activities designed to reinforce and meet the goals and objectives, and
games that reinforce the day's lessons. As the rider advances, ground
skills such as grooming and tacking may be added to the lesson or
incorporated on rainy or windy days instead of riding.
Volunteers are the heart
and soul of a therapeutic riding program. Anyone at least 13 years old
can volunteer. No previous experience is necessary. Our instructors will
teach you everything you need to know. Volunteers help the riders in
mounting horses and provide support to the riders during the lessons. The
volunteers also give emotional support to the riders for their efforts.
Many volunteers assist with tack and grooming as well. Volunteers can
also help with developing fun and new activities for our students.
Volunteers with horse experience or those who want to learn may help to
groom and tack horses or serve as horse leaders. A weekly commitment of
at least 3 hours is requested.
If you are interested in
volunteering for our program, please contact Denise Ghazey at
information about Stoneymeade Farm's REACH program, please contact: Denise Ghazey 978-790-5525, or Joyce