H.A.T.R.C. is a community program under the auspices of Starbright Children’s Development Centre and offers hippotherapy and therapeutic riding to preschool and school age children and youth. This program has been established since 2003. Through riding a horse a person with a disability learns to overcome challenges instilling confidence and improving self-esteem. Many experience a connect with the horse that few other sports can replicate.
Hippotherapy and Therapeutic Riding is a unique type of program in which the movements of a horse are used to stimulate movement responses in the child. With guidance from a qualified therapist, stimulation from the horse’s gait can facilitate balance reactions, normalization of muscle tone, coordination, muscle strengthening and movement symmetry in the rider. This leads to improvements in the child’s posture, balance and mobility, plus the recreational aspect of horseback riding provides a tremendous boost to the child’s self esteem and communication.
All potential riders are reviewed by a therapist before entering the program. Under the supervision of specially trained therapists, skilled equestrian staff and dedicated volunteers, riders will gain greater physical, cognitive and social skills. Focus is on achieving therapeutic goals, providing a sense of accomplishment, acquisition of riding skills, and having fun.
H.A.T.R.C. could not operate without volunteers. Our volunteers are a valuable resource as one rider can require as many as three volunteers for support and safety. Side walkers walk beside the rider and provide support for safety. Horse leaders lead the horse through various patterns and activities.
We thank BC Gaming for their support with this very worthwhile program.
Freedom of Movement
Horseback riding is a valuable means of providing physical, psychological, social and recreational benefits to riders of all abilities. To a rider with a disability, a horse can provide freedom of movement, and a sense of empowerment.