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Special Equestrians of the Treasure Coast
"Since 1992, Special Equestrians of the Treasure Coast has provided therapeutic horseback riding for children and adults who are challenged by autism, Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, spina bifida and other conditions affecting muscles and speech. Many of our riders are unable to control their arms and legs and are among scores of people in Indian River County burdened by physical and emotional disabilities.
To a child or adult with a physical, developmental or emotional disability, life looks a lot brighter on horseback. The power and warmth of a horse strengthens and tones muscles, improves balance, head control and coordination, builds patience and self-esteem, and offers a sense of freedom and equality. Horseback riding gently and rhythmically simulates the human gait, so riders with physical disabilities improve their flexibility and muscle strength.
The horses, most of them in their 20s, seem to understand their roles, patiently waiting for disabled riders to position themselves and give them the ""walk on"" cue either by voice, cluck, or hand sign. We see children change as soon as they get into the saddle. For a little while at least, they are in control of their lives.