Our Program Horses
Our horses are chosen based on the pureness of their head and heart.
Great care is taken in the selection.
Not every horse has what it takes to be in our program — soundness at all gaits, a sweet temperament, and low flight response — all of which are required to give you a safe and physically beneficial riding experience.
Desired traits for therapy horses include:
Soundness: The reason why therapeutic riding is so effective is because of the natural, rhythmic, and repetitive 3-dimensional movement of the horse . Therapy horses must have sound, clean gaits at the walk, trot, and canter.
Nice Temperament: Horses who are naturally kind, calm, and human-oriented are much more likely to give that "little extra something" when it comes to horse therapy. They must have the ability to tolerate attention by many people.
Well Trained: The horse is exposed to all aspects of the therapy and riding classes. They are taught to be led in a manner that encourages the horse to walk beside the leader's shoulder and speed up and slow down in response to the leader's body language and rhythm.
Low Flight Response: A program needs a horse that doesn't spook. The horse is trained to remain calm during loud noises such as music, toys, and enthusiastic riders. All exposure to various circumstances is practiced and tested until the horse accepts the environment with a calm, non-fearful demeanor.
Height of 14 to 16 Hands: The tallest horse is not always the one who can carry the largest rider. A shorter, stockier draft breed who can carry 200+ pounds often makes a better therapy horse than a tall thoroughbred who can't carry as much weight and is harder for riders to reach.
Health: Because of a program's limited budget, horses with chronic, expensive health issues are not ideal unless the owner agrees to contribute to the cost of keeping the horse. Therapy horses should be at a correct weight for their body type, with the strong hooves, shiny coat (when clean!), clear eyes, sweet breath, and all other indicators of good health.
Call (715) 835-4530 to learn more.
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