How Therapeutic Riding Helps

Therapeutic riding has far reaching benefits for people with disabilities. Horseback riding gently and rhythmically moves the rider’s body much like a natural human gait, leading to increased physical ability. And the bond between the horse and the rider creates many other social and emotional benefits as well.

Our center is a safe place where people with disabilities find acceptance and purpose. The benefits can include:

  • Improvement in flexibility, balance, muscle strength, posture, motor development and coordination
  • Increased confidence, patience and self esteem
  • Increased independence and empowerment
  • Increased social skills, such as teamwork, communication, sharing and leadership
  • Increased cognitive skills
  • Increased body awareness and self-reliance

The Motion of a Horse and its Benefits

As humans we have three distinct directions to the movement of our pelvis in our typical gait – up and down, side to side and front to back. A horse has this same motion, and when you ride a horse the movement of the animal travels to your pelvis, putting that motion into your body. It can be challenging to keep up with the motion of the horse as he starts walking or stops, or changes direction or gait. The core muscles get a workout, and students must coordinate independent and/or simultaneous movements of their limbs, torso and head. Horseback riding makes riders work hard, but it’s fun and creates improvement in balance, coordination, reflexes and strength. It is immediately evident that for kids who crave motion, riding a horse grabs their attention. This rhythmic movement frees the child to be able to pay attention to what’s important – it can help them tune out the “chatter” that can be so frustrating and distracting.

Who can benefit?

At The Magic Horse Therapeutic Riding Center we have worked with a wide variety of disabilities and have seen students at all levels of ability benefit from their connection with the horses and the experience of equine assisted activities. Our students include people with:

  • Autism
  • Aspergers Syndrome
  • Down Syndrome
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Spina Bifida
  • Multiple/Muscular Sclerosis (MS)
  • Kabuki Syndrome
  • Stroke/Brain injury
  • Developmental delay
  • Hearing impaired
  • Vision impaired
  • Polio
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit with Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Contact us today for more information or to schedule an evaluation.


Clem is an Appaloosa gelding, born around 1984, and has all four of the distinctive characteristics of the Appaloosa breed. Clem was donated to the program. He is a stubborn horse, but is a true asset to the program because he helps teach riders how to be assertive, persistent and patient. Working with Clem helps riders improve their leadership skills. Clem is a wider horse, which makes it easier for students to balance on him, and his swinging walk is great for getting movement into the students’ bodies. Although Clem has sore joints from a long life of working hard and some vision impairment from an accidental injury, his disabilities remind us all that each one of us has an important job to do. Clem’s job helping riders makes a difference every day.