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Therapeutic Riding, Heartland Inc. (KS)
Who We Serve: Heartland accepts participants who exhibit physical or cognitive disabilities. Each individual is evaluated before being accepted into Heartland's programs. Our clients' disabilities include cerebral palsy, spina bifida, autism, developmental delay, Down Syndrome, mental retardation, deafness, blindness, emotional disorders, and many neuromuscular and orthopedic problems. Heartland does not discriminate as to sex, creed, color, or ability to pay. Clients are accepted with their doctor's written permission. Heartland has a limited amount of scholarship funding for clients unable to pay the full fee.
What We Do: Heartland Therapeutic Riding provides equine-assisted therapy through the movement of and human interaction with the horse. Early intervention hippotherapy is provided for special needs children by a physical or an occupational therapist. Therapeutic sports riding is available for children and adults with disabilities. It is taught by North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA)-certified instructors. Both programs utilize motor planning, cognitive planning, and sensory integration in the design and implementation of each class session.
Why We Do It: Horseback riding is a helpful therapeutic tool in improving balance, coordination, and strengthening muscles. The action of the horse's back simulates the action of walking in the rider's pelvis. Horseback riding uses all the muscles in the body. Activities emphasizing cognitive, behavioral, psychological, and physical goals of each participant provide the rider with skills leading to successful adaptive riding.
How We Function: Heartland Therapeutic Riding employs an occupational therapist and a physical therapist certified by the American Hippotherapy Association to conduct our intervention therapy program. Certified therapeutic riding instructors conduct the sports riding program. We operate with the help of more than 120 volunteers each week. We maintain a herd of approximately 20 well-trained, sound and patient horses with extensive riding or show experience.
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