Benefits

In addition to the physical benefits for the rider (such as improved posture, muscle strength, and trunk balance), a human-animal bond develops between the rider and the horse, providing psychological benefits to the rider. Sitting astride a horse also can increase the rider’s sense of independence and self-esteem.

Individuals of all ages, disabilities, and conditions may benefit from therapeutic riding, including but not limited to people with autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, learning disabilities, spina bifida, spinal cord injuries, visual and hearing impairments, cardiovascular accidents and strokes, brain injuries, amputations, multiple sclerosis, and muscular dystrophy.

Local communities, 4-H members, and volunteers also benefit from opportunities associated with therapeutic riding by being a part of rewarding and memorable experiences.

Services Offered

Therapeutic riding is an equine-assisted activity that contributes to the cognitive, physical, emotional, and social well-being of individuals with special needs.

Hippotherapy is a physical, occupational, or speech therapy treatment strategy that uses equine movement as part of the patient’s treatment plan.

Educational programs include summer camps, school field trips, and individual or group equine activities.

Certification workshops for therapeutic riding instructors are provided to individuals interested in obtaining PATH Intl. instructor certification status. Therapeutic riding instructors who are interested in teaching at a PATH Intl. riding center are required to achieve one level of PATH Intl. instructor certification. MSU Extension Equine Assisted Therapy Program staff host these certification workshops.

Additionally, MSU Extension Equine Assisted Therapy Program staff may assist individuals and civic groups with developing therapeutic riding programs in their  communities.

Printer Friendly and PDF

Publications

News

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.

Horses, riders and volunteers involved in the Mississippi State University therapeutic riding program, such as these pictured in 2014, will take part in performances at 6 p.m. April 14 at the Mississippi Horse Park. (MSU Ag Communication file photo)
Filed Under: Youth Projects, Equine, Equine Assisted Therapy Programs April 18, 2015

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- About 40 riders involved in Mississippi State University’s therapeutic riding program will exhibit their skills in a special event at 6 p.m. April 14.

Cassie Brunson, coordinator of the MSU Extension Service Therapeutic Riding and Activity Center, is planning this first-ever exhibition to showcase riders and volunteers. The program will take place south of Starkville at the Mississippi Horse Park, located at 869 East Poorhouse Road.

Filed Under: 4-H, Youth Projects, Equine Assisted Therapy Programs June 6, 2014

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A program that provides equine therapy to children and adults with special needs recently received special recognition from an international organization.

The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH International) accredited the Mississippi State University Extension Service’s Elizabeth A. Howard 4-H Therapeutic Riding and Activity Center (TRAC).

Contact Your County Office

Contacts

Extension Associate I
Extension Associate II