This year The WindReach Bermuda and Bermuda Riding for the Disabled, is celebrating 50 years of Therapeutic Riding in Bermuda!
Therapeutic Riding is recognized world wide for its positive contributions to an individual’s well-being; cognitively, physically and emotionally. In fact, the impact therapeutic riding has on an individual with special needs is profound. Not only does riding improve physical strength, balance and coordination, it goes as far as to increase self-esteem, concentration levels, health and social interactions. Therapeutic riding is available to a large sector of individuals living with special needs and should be encouraged as we look to celebrate all abilities.
WindReach Bermuda’s Therapeutic Riding Programme is accredited by The Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association (CanTRA) and their Instructors are also CanTRA certified. We strive to provide a high quality programme that promotes challenge, achievement, empowerment and independence for individuals with special needs. Lessons, whether individual or group, follow an individualised lesson structure; including warm up exercises, a progression of skills and games designed to further those skills. Accompanying the participant and instructor in each lesson are trained volunteers ensuring safety at all times. Lessons are designed around the participant’s unique needs to maximize the outcomes and therapeutic benefits.
Because they are fun! But more importantly, a well trained therapy horse is rhythmic, symmetrical and organized. Each step the horse takes provides strong sensory and physical input in many dimensions – up and down, side to side, and back and forth. The Instructors balance these movements in specific orders to achieve positive results with the rider’s body mechanics that cannot be duplicated in any other setting.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS TO THE THERAPEUTIC RIDING PROGRAMME:
The physical benefits include: improved balance, strengthened muscles, improved coordination and motor planning. It also stretches tight/spastic muscles, increases joint range of motion, respiration and circulation, as well as sensory integration.
Therapeutic riding also improves: social skills, self confidence, increased interest in the outside world and increased risk taking abilities. In addition, it develops skills of patience, emotional control and self discipline; enhances friendships, communication and enjoyment and develops respect and affection for animals.
The educational benefits include: improved remedial reading and math, sequencing, patterning and motor planning, improved hand/eye coordination, improved visual and spatial perception, increased attention span and concentration, as well as improved verbal skills.
I remember when I used to go horseback riding at Bermuda Riding for the Disabled, as a wheelchair using, primary school student. During my time there, I got to ride three different horses: Dusty, Squirrel and Sandy. It was a form of physical therapy for me.
In the picture below, I am riding on a horse named Squirrel in my school P.E uniform. This took place every Wednesday at lunchtime for about an hour. Unfortunately, I stopped when I transitioned to Middle School to focus on my studies.
One technique that I learned while there was Trotting. There is a difference between Trotting and Galloping. The difference between gallop and trot is that gallop is (intransitive of a horse, etc) to run at a gallop while trot is to walk rapidly. I even won a purple ribbon Bravery award for Trotting during a contest. I learned a lot and made great relationships while there. Congratulations to them for 50 years and best wish for a whole lot more!
If you are interested in participating in our Therapeutic Riding Programme please contact Samantha Hillier at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 238-7433.