Programs

Why the horse?

Kevin MahoneyA horse’s walk is rhythmic and repetitive, encouraging movement responses in riders that are similar to human movement patterns of the pelvis while walking. Because of the interaction with a horse, riding may establish a bond that is motivating to riders. For some individuals, riding a horse gives them a chance to have mastery over something significant when they often have little opportunity for control in their lives.

We seek to offer children and adults with physical, mental, and emotional disabilities or injuries the benefits of therapeutic riding. We provide a safe, rewarding and comprehensive approach to meet the multi-dimensional needs of its participants.  We offer group lessons (not to exceed 4 riders) for 60 minutes and private lessons. We have six week seasonal lessons available for Spring, Summer, and Fall/Winter programs.

Therapy Education Program – TEP

We offer a School Partnership Program to benefit special individuals from area elementary and middle school systems. Students participate in grooming and educational classes once a week over the school session. We look forward to expanding this program so that we can continue to enhance the life skills and development of these students. 

Smiles of Strength…

Riding SmilesSmiles of Strength is a proposed program to help individuals whose lives have been transformed by cancer. In some cases these people are fighting for their lives and in other cases they are fighting to live life that has drastically changed after their battle with cancer.  The following plan has been developed to create a program providing people with cancer a safe and confidential experience to interact with horses. This “therapeutic” setting will provide equine assisted activities (EAA) striving to help clients attain skills that help deal with the stresses caused by the side effects of cancer.

The main goal of this program is to assist persons with cancer by creating an emotional bond with another living creature, a horse. This bond and the skills acquired while interacting with a Miles of Smiles horse have the ability to alleviate stresses due to the negative effects cancer is having on their everyday lives. A person with cancer is likely to experience many of the challenges faced by a person with a disability. For example: feelings of social anxiety due to physical differences, physical challenges, in-ability to interact at work or in recreational settings for a “normal” length of time, feeling emotional distance between family and friends, increased fears of death, increased worries about financial situations.

Sports/Vaulting

What is Therapeutic Vaulting? Therapeutic Vaulting is a modified form of traditional equestrian vaulting, which is essentially a combination of gymnastics and dance movements performed on horseback. Participants in therapeutic programs are taught basic vaulting positions and exercises, but modifications are made to accommodate a wide variety of disabilities and specific needs of individual vaulters. Participants in Therapeutic Vaulting range from able-bodied individuals to those with physical challenges. Many programs cater to individuals with mental health issues such as anxiety, fear, ADD/ADHD, eating disorders and behavioral issues. Most classes are limited to groups of four to six vaulters. One of the main objectives in a therapeutic vaulting session is the development of cooperation, teamwork and group cohesion.

Many of the skills learned through Therapeutic Vaulting are transferrable to daily life activities. The major physical benefits include improved balance, coordination, motor skills, body awareness and sensory integration, strength and stamina. The psychological benefits include increased confidence, problem solving ability, memory, focus, trust, teamwork and creativity. Also, being part of a supportive team will encourage participants to trust one another and develop social skills that are applicable at school, work and in the general community.

Scholarship Aid

In today’s economy most families are faced with greater financial challenges. There is even more of a financial burden on families caring for a family member with special needs.  It is important to Miles of Smiles that every student be able to experience the joys of therapeutic riding regardless of their inability to pay for services.

We are committed to keeping fees low so everyone can have an opportunity to experience the joys equine assisted activities. Due to the generosity of our donors, and community support we are able to keep our fees affordable. There are scholarships available to those individuals. Please remember to submit the correct paperwork for the great opportunity.