Therapeutic Riding


Our therapeutic riding program teaches horseback-riding skills, while using therapeutic activities tailored to individual rider's needs. These lessons are designed specifically for riders with physical and cognitive disabilities, and the best part is, they are fun for everyone involved! One hour lessons include horse care (such as grooming and tacking up) and a mounted riding lesson, with volunteers and lesson plans available for every age and ability level. HRTRC offers small group and private lessons adaptiveMonday through Saturday.

Our program is all about “fit” - the right horse for the rider and a class experience with other riders working through similar issues.  Social interaction and participation in group activities is part of the positive process.  Therapeutic riding develops small and gross motor skills, problem-solving abilities, teaches important emotional and physical processes, and builds social connection between riders and their instructors, volunteers and other riders.

Therapeutic riding has been actively helping individuals with disabilities since the 1950's and provides benefits in health, education, sport and recreation. Throughout the world, there are thousands of individuals with special needs who experience the rewarding benefits of horseback riding. Experiencing the motion of a horse is therapeutic because horseback riding rhythmically moves the rider's body in a manner similar to the human gait.  Riders with physical disabilities regularly show improvement in flexibility, balance and muscle strength. In addition to the therapeutic benefits, horseback riding also provides recreational opportunities for individuals with disabilities to enjoy the outdoors. Horseback activities encourage stretching and strengthening of underused or underdeveloped muscles, improve posture and coordination, help develop gross and fine motor skills, increase the riders awareness of his or her body and improve range of motion. In addition, riders with disabilities increase their self-esteem and self-confidence and increase their ability to focus and stay on task.

Riders in this program are referred by medical professionals and community agencies such as KIDS Center, Deschutes County Health Services, Mosaic Medical, Family Access Network (FAN), Alyce Hatch, Residential Assistance Program (RAP) the Bend VA, Bend LaPine Schools, and others.

For more information about how to register for therapeutic riding classes, click here.