Horses more than therapy for riders with disability

Monday, 26 August 2019

With it’s physical, social, psychological and educational effects, horse riding is an activity with a multitude of benefits for people with disability.

EPIC Assist’s (EPIC) community grants program recently supported three volunteer-led organisations to assist with the purchase of horse-riding equipment.

Young girl riding horse

Cartmill Centre Riding for Disabled Association in Burpengary, QLD, has been providing equestrian activities for people with disability from 6 to 80 years of age for many years.

Their volunteers support over 60 riders with multiple disabilities.  Often riders need three people to assist, one on each side and one with the horse.  All rides are managed by accredited coaches and a first aider is always present.

Helmets are required to be replaced every five years or if they have received a severe impact. EPIC’s grant will enable riders to continue to have helmet protection whilst riding at the Cartmill Centre.

Riding for the Disabled (NSW) Ballina & District spokesperson, Anne Shaw said that their community grant would be used to purchase saddlery to assist disabled people to ride horses for enjoyment and therapy.

Girl riding horse

“We cater to a range of ages and disabilities – we currently have riders aged from 4 to 50. Horse riding assists people with disability to improve their physical strength, balance, coordination, social interactions and to learn new skills. This in turn boosts confidence and creates a sense of pride and accomplishment.”

Peninsular Developmental Riding Centre Inc. (Pender) in Redcliffe, QLD, provides a therapeutic equestrian activity for young children with significant disabilities.  Many of these children are unable to even sit unaided but the movement of the horse stimulates muscles, particularly core muscles.

The activities are guided by occupational therapists and physiotherapists, and are delivered by an accredited coach, specialising in equestrian and disability knowledge.  They are assisted by volunteers – often three are needed for each participant.  This is therapy delivered in a fun environment and can lead to opportunities in sport such as para and Special Olympics.

EPIC’s grant has enabled Pender to purchase special supportive pads and sheepskins for their riders.

We are proud to support these organisations who provide opportunities for people with disability to experience horse riding as therapy, and enjoyment.

Learn more about EPIC’s community grants program here.

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