Horse Therapy

Therapeutic Riding Lessons At its finest. Rider and horse are joined not by tack, but by trust. Each is totally reliant upon the other. Each is the selfless guardian of the other's very well-being. Angel's Grove Ranch offers the therapeutic benefits of horseback riding as a supplement to traditional clinical physical therapy programs. Horseback riding is a great way to improve balance, hand/eye coordination, extremity coordination, and overall muscle tone – all of which are commonly associated problems with physically and cognitively disabled children.  Animal assisted therapy also helps to improve social interaction by teaching patience, compassion, and positive reinforcement, which is invaluable for children who have difficulty making friends or experience feels of social awkwardness and low self-esteem.  

Purpose:
The primary goal of the Angel's Grove Animal-Assisted Therapy Program is to integrate the known benefits of animal-assisted therapy into the more traditional clinical approach to physical and occupational therapy programs for children with mental, physical, and cognitive disabilities.  

Objectives:
This program is specially designed to aid in the development of fine and gross motor skills in students with varying degrees of impairment.  Through the addition of animals into the rehabilitative process, we are able to develop the child's communication skills, teach patience and tolerance (which is a common issue in many children with cognitive disabilities) and create a an emotional bond between student and animal – all while working to rebuild neural deficits in the child's cranial development. 

Therapeutic Program: 
Although Angel's Grove has many animals at its facility, the majority of its integrative therapy program focuses on equine interaction.  Horseback riding is a fun and effective way to improve balance, focus, muscle tone, motor function, and foster coordinated movement through physical activity.  But our program involves more than just riding.

Horse grooming and care is a holistic mechanism by which the therapist can assist in the development of the child's decision-making and problem-solving skills.  In addition to skill development, these tasks also do wonders to reinforce the child's positive self-image, sense of accomplishment, and overall social development in handicapped or disabled children.

Program Design:
Angel's Grove's program consists of a number of fun-filled equine-centric games that have been specially designed for therapeutic purposes.  These exercises are well suited for children with a broad range of disabilities including those on the autism spectrum, substance abuse, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, amputation, developmental disorders (including ADD and ADHD), spinal cord and brain injuries, cerebral palsy, seizure disorders, visual and hearing impairment, learning disorders, emotional problems, and anxiety disorders.  

Notable Benefits:
Although this program is designed to supplement and not replace traditional rehabilitative therapy, evidence suggests that a child who incorporates equine therapy with traditional therapy see markedly better improvement than children who undergo clinical therapy alone.  No doubt this is because people and animals are a natural combination.  Pets are great companions, and they teach the value of love and kindness.  These contribute to a positive outlook which is the key to any successful rehabilitation program.  

Cost & Duration:
Since each individual progresses at his/her own speed, it is impossible to predict how long any one physical therapy program will last, and Angel's Grove will not attempt to do so here.  However, as a general rule, fees are assessed at $50 per 60-minute session.  We recommend at least two sessions a week in order to achieve any meaningful results.  We also offer therapeutic packages in the following amounts:

    •    10-week fall or spring session = $800
    •    Summer session/camp = $300 per week from 9 – noon. Drinks, snacks, and arts/crafts are provided as well. Lunch is not included. 

Facility:
Angel's Grove was founded in 2008 and currently houses 20 horses and ten volunteers.  Angel's Grove is situated on ten acres in Bush, Louisiana.  The riding center has two outdoor riding arenas, a 9-stall barn, and an indoor fun room where we enjoy snacks and participate in arts and crafts.  

Qualifications:
Our therapist is licensed, has training in Hippo therapy, and is nationally respected for her expertise.  Our lead instructor is also a member of PATH, is a Certified Personal Trainer, and holds an Associate Degree in General Studies/Biology from Delgado Community College.  She has also completed the Horse Trainer Program at Louisiana State University.