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Rhythm of the Rein Therapeutic Riding Center
NARHA Premier Accredited Center
Contact: Dianne Lashoones
RHYTHM OF THE REIN IS a 501(c)3 public charitable organization formed exclusively to provide therapeutic riding services to physically, emotionally and mentally challenged children and adults, particularly those who are from financially distressed households, in Central Vermont and the Northeast Kingdom. RHYTHM OF THE REIN'S MISSION is to enhance the physical and psychological abilities and well being of individuals with special needs through the physical and emotional interaction with horses through Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT). These activities and therapies utilize therapeutic riding and even unmounted activities to positively contribute to the physical, cognitive, emotional and social well-being of individuals with disabilities, thereby positively impacting their life skills and enhancing their quality of life. Equine assisted activities are incredible boosts to self esteem, confidence, and emotional healing. The therapeutic riding discipline provides medical or rehabilitative goal-based treatment/therapy outcomes, facilitated by the rhythmic, symmetrical movements of a horse, with the assistance of properly trained or certified professionals to provide multi-sensory input (movement, touch, sight, smell and sound), repetition and variability as a treatment tool. The participant’s subconscious efforts at working trunk muscles and staying balanced as a horse moves in the same multiplaned fashion, as we walk, produces therapeutic gains not easily accomplished in a sterile clinical setting. To that means, we provide hippotherapy services to children and adults on physician referral. Our medical background helps assure the optimal benefits even in the Therapeutic Equine Assisted Activities realm. We work to compliment school IEP’s, work closely with TBI and mental health support groups, and are approved by PATH to offer their nationally based Horses for Heroes Program bringing therapeutic riding services and equine assisted activities to our nation’s military service men and women and veterans and their families. Rhythm of the Rein is the only Premier Accredited Program in Central Vermont and the Northeast Kingdom that is staffed with PATH Certified Registered Instructors who are licensed health care professionals and engages the region’s only resident PATH Registered Therapist. Our goal is to continually expand our programs and offer more services to the community we serve. Long term we would like to develop a research study to help improve evidence-based documentation that hippotherapy is a goal measurable treatment modality. Anyone interested in learning more about Therapeutic Riding and Hippotherapy should go tohttp://www.pathintl.org/. RHYTHM OF THE REIN'S PROGRAMS AND SERVICES include an expertise in hippotherapy (hippo being the Greek word for horse). Legally, only licensed Allied Health Care professionals, further trained by PATH or the AHA, with a strong background in posture and movement, neuromotor function, and sensory processing can provide this service. These services are medical treatments provided on referral from a physician. Participant’s initial evaluations are done by the Program Manager, a licensed Physical Therapist and a PATH Certified Registered Instructor to determine the appropriateness of services and to devise a therapy plan and participant goals. As therapy is provided, participant’s progress is measured against initial and revised goals. Although physical therapy is offered as hippotherapy, our goal is to integrate an Occupational Therapist and a Speech and Language Pathologist on staff as well. Under certain circumstances, the program’s hippotherapy services are covered by Vermont's public insurance coverage for children. In other select situations, the services may be covered under some private insurance programs. Some parent advocates have been successful in getting services covered by their school's special education program because the services their children receive from us helps support their academic experience. If you would like to talk to other parents who have been successful in getting services covered, we can connect you with some of our participant's parents. PATH training assisted our expansion into other “Equine Assisted Activities” that have more emotional, social and psychological goals, such as the Horses for Heroes Program that PATH has worked hard to develop with the Department of Veterans Affairs to bring physical and social – emotional therapeutic benefits to American service men and women and their families. We have also designed a program for one of the area’s TBI support groups. Case managers from the program have marveled at how overcoming the initial anxiety of getting on a horse for the first time has carried over into improved self-esteem in all aspects of life for their clients. We also partner with local mental health agencies and offer community based learning opportunities. (Please note we do not offer equine facilitated mental health services). We offer a vocational rehabilitation jobs skills training program as well. RHYTHM OF THE REIN'S PARTICIPANTS range from age 2 to 60; although 60% of our riders are under 21. Many of our clients have autism, learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injuries, developmental delays, and other physical challenges such as multiple sclerosis, strokes, amputations, and much more. We can accept hippotherapy physical therapy referrals and we work with local schools, TBI support groups, and the Vermont National Guard Family Readiness Program. Many inquiries come directly from families and they choose to approach the program for it’s social and emotional benefits even though there are tremendous physical benefits as well. Each session is a structured learning experience. We are able to mount riders from a mounting block or ramp, so people dependent on a wheelchair for mobility can participate. Our horses are incredibly patient with often long and intricate mounting procedures.