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Riding As Therapy

Therapeutic Riding is used to enhance physical, psychological, emotional, and social development for its participants. Physically, riding improves mobility, flexibility, strength, balance, stamina, and coordination. It stimulates the digestive system, cardiovascular system, and the respiratory system. Riding is helpful to people with learning disabilities and a wide range of mental illnesses. Psychologically, the benefits from therapeutic riding include increased self-esteem and self confidence. Besides these benefits, riding is simply enjoyable for the riders, while offering a very positive experience for their family members, caregivers and volunteers who witness and share their rider’s achievements. Riding is fun!

Riding As Therapy

Why Does Equine-Assisted Activities Work

Consider the observations of Pennsylvania physician Dr. Louis Wagner:

"A horse’s walking action mimics your body action. So when you put somebody on a horse, the horse moves and the rider’s muscles move in synchronization with it. Unlike exercise machines, a horse makes your whole body respond in a smoothly rhythmic, progressive way."

This is why many physical therapists join their patients for therapeutic riding: they can do things (at the riding center) which can't be accomplished in the therapy room.

The riders benefit physically and emotionally, gain strength and flexibility, learn consequences, and feel a sense of accomplishment during the riding sessions. These benefits carry over into their daily lives.


Some Benefits of Equine-Assisted Activities

The Benefits of Therapeutic Riding
  • Develop recreational, educational, and therapeutic goals
  • Enhance social skills and trust levels through special effects of the human/animal bond
  • Improve sensory integration skills
  • Lengthen attention span and concentration
  • Improve posture, balance, coordination, flexibility, and normalize muscle tone
  • Increase self-confidence and self-discipline
  • Promote responsibility and cooperation
  • Build self-esteem through challenge in a success-oriented experience


What Participants Say

Madison’s Experience With the NWTRC

As told by her father, Kaler Crane

"Denim to Diamonds" November 6, 2010

Madison crane is an 18 year old young lady who lives in a loving home with her mother, father and two brothers.

She has always been a big part of her family, participating in all her family events. Sharing the good and the bad times that every family shares.

Madison has watched while her brothers have participated in their chosen activities. Going to her younger brothers’ football games, by riding along to pick up her older brother from theatrical rehearsals and performances.... Hours of her life have been spent just to help making these activities possible for the ones she loves the most.

Never complaining, never resisting, but always on the sideline.

Madison has never been invited to a friends house after school, has never been invited to a birthday party, a sleep over or a dance. She has never had a special friend that she could be close to and share with.Madison has never had the special moments that she can cherish as hers, just hers. The moments that make her feel that these are her memories, her joy.

That has all changed.

With what her parents thought would be a physical benefit, a straightening of the body, a dexterity enhancement therapy, a developmental exercise became something so very much more.

It became Madison’s moments.

Of course all the physical benefit was there, all the confidence building was there, everything that was expected was there, but there were moments.

The moments of having something special that was just hers. moments of joy, moments of having very special friends, the moments of connecting in a way that is so special with very special animals. Moments that were all just for Madison.

I’m sure we have heard giving people say that they always get so much more back then what they give, and Julia and her staff are no exception to this. In our case, I would have to adamantly object.

I don’t think it could be possible for you to see through your eyes what we can see through ours. Of course the smiles, the laughter and the riding tall and proud are there for all to see. But for us who understand the magic in the moment, we see so much more.

We see the way a life is changed. How a realization of this is a special moment for a special very deserving person. We see our child experience joy.

Does thank you say enough? No it can’t. But we are limited to the words that exist. So to Julia, the Board of Directors, the sponsors, the riding staff and very importantly the magical creatures that make it all possible - the horses, all we have is........ Thank you.


Riding Program

Lesson Information:
  • Session fees are due the first week of each session.
  • Make-up lessons will be offered during the final week of the session or can be used at a mutually agreeable time during the session.
  • Cancellation policy is strictly adhered to.
  • Riders must have submitted a completed registration packet.
  • Riders with Down Syndrome must have AtlantoDens Interval X-rays.
  • Everyone must sign a liability release to be on the premises.
  • Riders must have appropriate footwear, clothes and a well fitting approved riding helmet. (Helmet must be ASTM/SEI approved and in good condition. Lightweight helmets may be used according to the guidelines in the PATH Intl. Standards and Accreditation Manual.)

For more information on lessons contact the NWTRC

Horsemanship and Yoga - An Inclusive Course

Achieve greater relaxation, learn proper breathing techniques, and balance your physical and emotional health while learning to ride. Now accepting a limited number of students.

For more information on lessons contact the NWTRC


1884 Kelly Road • Bellingham, WA 98226 • 360-966-2124
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