Therapeutic Riding

What is Therapeutic Riding?

Therapeutic Riding refers to various horse related activities, with an emphasis on learning functional riding and horsemanship skills for physical and developmental purposes. Therapeutic Riding is beneficial for people of all ages with physical, emotional, social, and developmental exceptionalities, and helps to promote overall health and wellbeing.

Traditional Therapeutic Riding Lessons

We are now taking names for our Wait List

Spring 12 Week Session  — (April – June)  
$375 (tax included)

3 Day Summer Camp (Beginning of July)
$225 (tax included)

Fall 12 Week Session (September – November)
$375 (tax included)

We guarantee our families 10 riding lessons (provided perfect attendance) over the course of 12 weeks which accommodates for any holidays, snow days or cancellations due to our staffs’ sickness. 

Therapeutic riding is available to any one who may require some extra support during programming. You are eligible to participate in our program if you present with any one or more of the following concerns or presentations:

* ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder)
* Anxiety (select mutism, social phobias, panic disorders)
* Behavioral concerns (aggression, tantrums)
* Down syndrome
* Cerebral Palsy
* Eating disorders
* Paralysis
* Development of social skills
* Acquired Brain Injuries (ABI)
* Depression
* Rhett’s Syndrome
* Cognitive delays
* Amputation
* Chronic illness
* Spinal Cord Injury
* Development of Speech or Language 
* Arthritis
* Mental Health Concerns
* Multiple Sclerosis
* Would like additional support for any reason which could include fear of horses, requires additional emotional support, etc 

  • Minimum 3 years of age
  • Complete all necessary paperwork prior to starting
  • Attend an intake meeting prior to starting lessons for the first time
  • Have a family doctor, physician, occupational therapist or physiotherapist medically clear the participant to ride
  • Willing to learn new skills and meet new people
  • Willing and able to wear an approved ASTM-SEI riding helmet (we provide the helmets)

All of our riders must meet 5 basic requirements in order to participate in our traditional therapeutic riding lessons. 
Note: these requirements were implemented for the safety of both our riders and horses

Riders will be given an opportunity to learn some of these skills if they do not meet them initially. They will receive conditional acceptance into the program for a minimum of 2 weeks (if not longer) to try to achieve these necessary requirements. If a rider after 2-3 weeks is unsuccessful, they may be asked to leave the program and are encouraged to try again in future programming options

1. Be able to hold onto a strap with at least one hand

2. Be able to carry and hold a prop

3. Sit balanced in the saddle

4. No involuntary dismounts

5. Rider must meet a portion of their own goals set during an intake meeting/beginning of the 12 week session and demonstrate progress over a period of time

 1. Submit Rider Registration Form

You can receive a registration form by contacting staff at info@fstra.org. To return please either email back or mail/drop them off to the FSTRA office located at Rohan Wood Stables in Aylesford. Once our office receives your registration forms, a staff member will be in contact with you to schedule an intake meeting and inform you of our availability in upcoming sessions and programming options.

2. Schedule Intake Meeting

All new riders are required to attend an intake meeting prior to starting in our program. Intake meetings are designed for our staff to become familiar with our riders and determine the best horse or pony for them to ride. Furthermore it allows some discussion for parents or guardians to indicate goals they would like their rider to accomplish and consider any accommodations that will allow them to experience success in our program. This is a great opportunity to ask any questions and determine next steps required (if any) before registration is considered “complete”.

3. Other required forms

Medical form:  In addition to the rider registration form, all of our riders will need to be medically cleared to ride by a family physician, occupational therapist or a physiotherapist. This is a requirement set in place by our governing body CanTRA. You can download the medical form or talk to our staff about this specific aspect of registration should you have any questions

Goal Sheet: Completed or discussed during intake meeting and is currently included in registration form

Generic Assessment Form: Completed or discussed during intake meeting and is currently included in the registration form. This allows staff to assess the abilities of the riders and determine any areas requiring improvement or focus.

We require that all fees are paid upfront before your programming begins. Should you require an alternative plan to payment, or a payment plan, please contact us directly to make other arrangements. We accept e-transfers, cheques and cash at this time. 

  • Please Note: Unfortunately at this time we cannot accommodate any refunds for missed lessons. The cost represents the entire session regardless of how many lessons you are able to attend. 

Lessons vary in length being either 30 minutes or 60 minutes long

The majority of lessons are group lessons, with no more than 4 riders in the ring at a time. Depending on the support required some of our clients ride in private lessons. All private are 30 minutes in length.

All riders are mounted one at a time from the wheelchair ramp.

Parents, family, guardians, workers and friends are welcomed and invited to watch lessons. They may take photos as long as there is NO FLASH photography. We have a seating area inside the indoor arena in the corner.

Mounting: 5-10 minutes

Warm up: 10 minutes of stretching

Skill Building: : 10 minutes of skill building through intentional activity

Practice & Education:  20 minutes of practice of skills and education embedded in a game format

Trotting: 5-10 minutes (depending on skill, ability, support & desire) Not required

Dismounting: 5 minutes 

  • Before entering the indoor ring, we ask that every yell “DOOR” before entering. One of our therapy ponies is blind. Any sudden movement by the door may startle our therapy horses. By verbally yelling “door” it alerts our horses to expect movement as well as alerting our staff and instructors that someone is entering
  • Dress warmly for our Fall Session and beginning of the Spring session. The indoor riding ring is NOT heated. Dress your rider, and yourself as a spectator accordingly. 

Are you interested in registering for therapeutic riding, but unable to cover the costs? We believe that therapeutic riding should be accessible to all. We have put together a few resources that may be available to you and your family to help cover the costs of riding. 

If you need help, please let us know. We can help direct you towards the appropriate funding avenue.

KidSport Funding:

KidSport is a national initiative promoted through Sport Nova Scotia to ensure all children have access to participating in registered sports. KidSport will approve up to $300.0 per child, per calendar year for sport registration and/or equipment. Approval is based on Statistics Canada Low Income Cut-Offs. 

Jumpstart Funding:

Jump Start is a national program funded through Canadian Tire. Jump Start funds raised stay in community to help families cover the costs of programs that involve sport or physical activities. Eligibility for funding is based on Revenue Canada’s Low Income Cut-Offs. We often encourage our riders to apply for Jump Start funding for our Summer Camp in July.

Rider Funding Application:

Rider funding is dependent on the number of generous donations that we receive from our community members and supporters, thus meaning we may not always be able to provide funding to our riders. If granted, funding will cover up to 80% of the session fee. In order to give all of our families a chance to benefit, funding may be received for one session per year. 

If you are interested in an application please contact our Program Coordinator at info@fstra.org

Waitlist

**** Interested in Riding with the Free Spirit Therapeutic Riding Association? ****

Complete the Wait List below to express interest or email us at info@fstra.org


Add your rider to our wait list for the next available therapeutic riding 12 week session or last minute opportunity:

The Benefits of Therapeutic Riding

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