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Frequently Asked Questions

What are therapeutic riding activities?

Therapeutic riding activities are individualized, specialized activities that use the horse to provide physical, emotional, and psychological benefits to children and adults with disabilities. Through carefully planned activities developed by a certified riding instructor and/or therapist, the horse is used as a treatment tool to help the rider achieve his or her goals.

How does the horse’s movement help riders?

The movement of the horse at a walk provides sensory input that stimulates normal muscle responses in the human, enhancing cognitive and physical development. The horse’s three dimensional, swinging gait simulates the movement of a human’s pelvis, trunk, and shoulder girdle when walking.

How can participants register for sessions?

For additional information about the MSU Extension Equine Assisted Therapy Programs or for a program application, contact Cassie Brunson at (662) 325-1718 or cbrunson@humansci.msstate.edu.

How are goals set for riders?

Before a participant begins riding in the program, an instructor and licensed therapy professional (PT, OT, SLP) conduct an assessment to establish goals. Participants’ parents, teachers, counselors, and therapists may make suggestions.

How can you help the therapeutic riding program?

• Make a financial donation.

• Donate a horse or sponsor a rider.

• Volunteer to assist with riding classes.

• Share information about the program.

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Publications

News

Filed Under: Family, Equine Assisted Therapy Programs October 8, 2019

The Mississippi State University Extension Equine-Assisted Therapy program will hold a fundraising event Oct. 12.

Man seated on a step stool in an arena looks at a horse while a large dog watches cautiously.
Filed Under: Equine Assisted Therapy Programs April 19, 2018

WEST POINT, Miss. -- The groundwork portion of therapeutic horseback riding offers emotional and mental benefits to veterans who take part in a program at Mississippi State University.

Lance McElhenney of Webster County served in the U.S. Marine Corps around the world. Injured by a mortar fragment in Iraq in 2004, this Purple Heart veteran now fights a different battle -- with multiple sclerosis. One of his weapons is an old horse he named Archie, for Archibald Henderson, the grand old man of the Marine Corps.

Nora Molina, 5, is proud to show her horseback riding trophy to her teacher Leslie Earnest, a research associate at the T.K Martin Center at Mississippi State University. Molina was one of 46 riders taking part in the second annual Therapeutic Riding Expo at the Mississippi Horse Park on April 19, 2016. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
Filed Under: Equine Assisted Therapy Programs April 22, 2016

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Therapeutic horseback riding is about much more than physical therapy.

Cassie Brunson, coordinator of the Mississippi State University Extension Service Therapeutic Riding and Activity Center, said participants first come to the program for the exercise, but they stay for the relationships.

Volunteers and riders will be featured at Mississippi State University’s second annual Therapeutic Riding Expo at the Mississippi Horse Park on April 19. This file photo shows Lantz Stewart of West Point offering advice to Eli Barlow before they enter the arena for the first riding exposition in 2015. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Linda Breazeale)
Filed Under: 4-H, Equine Assisted Therapy Programs April 13, 2016

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Riders involved in the Mississippi State University therapeutic riding program will demonstrate their skills in a special event April 19 at the Mississippi Horse Park.

About 46 riders will take part in the second annual Therapeutic Riding Expo, which begins at 6 p.m. The horse park is south of Starkville at 869 East Poorhouse Road. The event is free and open to the public.

Success Stories

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Peanuts, Irrigation, Equine, Equine Assisted Therapy Programs, The PROMISE Initiative, Nutrition, EFNEP
Volume 5 Number 2

In this "What's New in Extension," Extension agents implement better safety standards, train to deliver Mental Health First Aid, and receive national recognition. Also, new irrigation and specialists join the Extension family.

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Equine Assisted Therapy Program
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Thursday, July 11, 2019 - 11:15am

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Contacts

Portrait of Mrs. Cassie Courts Brunson
Extension Associate I
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Extension Associate II

Your Extension Experts

Portrait of Mrs. Cassie Courts Brunson
Extension Associate I
Portrait of Ms. Lori Jones Irvin
Extension Associate II