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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

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).

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Contacts

Extension Associate I
Extension Associate II