Special Needs Therapeutic Riding
In addition to the groundwork-based program(s) Barnabas Horse Foundation offers, we also provide a unique opportunity for children and young adults with varying physical, emotional, and intellectual abilities to take part in therapeutic riding.
During a 30-minute session, participants engage in activities while mounted on the back of a horse. “Teams” are created that draw on the strengths and compatibility of one another, including rider(s), volunteers, and horses. During this process, different regions of the brain are activated, and riders can recognize how being on horseback makes them feel, where they feel the identified emotion, and how to use said feelings to enjoy the process of being carried by a horse.
Activities engaged in range from obstacle courses (being led by a walker, or by the rider steering the horse via commands), stations with different breathing and stretching practices to encourage balance and relaxation and more. This program is suited for those with a range of physical conditions too! Riding horses provides a somatic experience that hones in on fine and gross motor skills, stimulating horse and rider awareness, connection, and responsiveness.
It is our desire to make every child and young adult that takes part in this program to feel comfortable, confident, and independent as possible as they explore the realm of horseback riding and the joys it has to offer.
For more information or to sign-up, please contact Shayla at (301)266-7027.
A Few Words From Our Program Participants
I love riding horses because they distract me from the world which makes me calm. Everyone at Barnabas treats me really nicely and they are accepting of everyone.
Marley, Program Participant
Barnabas has been a breath of fresh air for my kids, they are always smiling and so relaxed when at the stables. The volunteers are committed to the kids and work with them so well on good days and bad. Our experiences there are invaluable.
Meghan Poole, Parent
The Barnabas Horse Foundation has helped our family so much and countless others. With Jake being born at 26 weeks and weighing 2lbs, 1.5 ounces we knew he would face challenges growing up, however I never imagined it would be severe anxiety with chronic tic disorder. Barnabas Horse Foundation has helped him overcome a lot of this as well as help him cope with everyday struggles. He’s learned to use his voice and speak up, learned to relax, take a deep (horse) breath and learned how to find other avenues to channel the anxiety. Without the help of Barnabas and their amazing staff I don’t think Jake would be in the place he is today. We are grateful and truly blessed to have them all in our lives.
Our daughter enjoys seeing friends and being around the horses at the barn. She looks forward to the weekly sessions. We’re confident that the staff is hyper-aware of all safety concerns and that she is well supervised while on property.
My daughter suffers from severe anxiety, PTSD, and insecurities Her self-confidence has improved and her anxiety began to decrease incrementally. We are forever grateful for Shayla and the Barnabas Horse Foundation team for their healing environment and their continued therapy in her life. I would highly recommend Barnabas horse for any child or teen suffering from anxiety disorder or related emotional challenges because not only does the therapy work, the staff and volunteers are kind & wonderful people.
The equine assisted learning program has helped my adult son be more independent and feel confident in what he has learned. I love to see his smile when we drive thru the gates at Barnabas.
Dowanna Whitfield, Parent