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At Walkabout Farm our equine assisted activities are performed through accommodations to the individual in order to achieve desired effects on targeted outcomes. The most effective ways to enhance learning services through interacting with horses and the equine environment are not yet known to us, scientifically speaking. In fact, we do not know much about the ways in which one of the most common and popular equine experimental learning activities - therapeutic horseback riding is best implemented to facilitate an effective experience for populations who vary in age, risk status, regulatory ability and prior horse exposure.
As such Jennifer Semach, our founder and lead instructor, will work closely with the participant, caregivers and their health care team to establish an individualized approach based on the role of each participants affective and physiological regulatory abilities, physical strengths and weaknesses, risk status and psychoeducation plan. Each session is progressively shaping their moment-to-moment experiences and responses to equine assisted activities, especially activities that challenge the participants perception of their current abilities.
Understanding the dynamic interplay between participants regulatory characteristics and responses in the context of a mounted activity or non-mounted grounding exercise can help our team anticipate, recognize, respond or redirect signs of participants anxiousness, negative cognitions, unregulated emotion and behavioural reactions, to assist in their personal development and resiliency. Our mounted activities do not incorporate standard horseback riding instruction. Most sessions are conducted on a lead line and accompanied by side walkers.
About Therapeutic Riding
Therapeutic riding uses horses for the purpose of providing physical, emotional, social and cognitive support to people with a disability. Although therapeutic riding has yet to be formally recognized as "therapy" in the clinical sense, the benefits of human / horse interactions are well documented and include:
emotional and mental support in a non-judgmental and inclusive environment
learning to recognize nonverbal communication
enhanced social development
increased independence, self-esteem, confidence and resiliency
strengthening of muscles - normalization of muscle tone - mobilization of trunk and pelvis - improvement of balance and coordination
increased attention span leading to better academic outcomes
Through controlled and assisted movements between the horse and its rider, therapeutic riding supports participants in their physical development, improving their range of motion, balance, muscle tone and strengthening under used or under developed muscles. It also addresses poor posture and improves both gross and fine motor skills for greater body awareness. As these skills improve and develop, so does the participants ability to stay on task for a longer duration of time.
An important component of horses as emotional support animals is the bond that participants establish with their equine partner, creating an environment of respect, teamwork and trust, and contributing to personal growth. Commonly, the simple act of being up close and personal with a horse, engaging all of ones available senses, opens a pathway to greater self awareness and enhanced social development.
Click here to read testimonials from some of our participants.
Caring for our Therapy Horses
COVID-19 provincially mandated lockdowns have affected many small businesses and not for profit organizations like ours. If you are in a position to give, you can help in the following ways as we ride out these closures.
We have a credit account in place at both the Minden Mercantile & Feed, and Pet Tyme Animal Krackers, for donations of grain, bedding and farm supplies.
We have an account set up at Haliburton Veterinary Services to assist in ongoing medical expenses.
You can also donate an item to our online auction platform.
The "hay fund" is a wonderful movement growing in our community where people are buying bales of hay for the horses in lieu of birthday gifts. $6.75 a bale (the horses eat 4 bales a day). We love this idea!
Your support is greatly appreciated.
"Trauma does not define us or impede our progress, potential or growth"
To download the Walkabout Farm Therapeutic Riding Association Inc. business outline in .PDF format, click here.
To learn about what we offer, click here or to register for our programs, click here.
To contact us, click here.