Riders

Miles of Smiles is proud to provide opportunities for people with varying ability levels to challenge themselves physically and emotionally and to set goals to improve their quality of life via the horse. Training volunteers and professionals to support and facilitate this process, educating the public about the positive impact of the human/animal bond and upholding standards for safe and effective equine facilitated therapy. If you or someone you know could benefit from a therapeutic riding program, please contact Miles of Smiles at your earliest convenience. There is often a waiting list so get your name on the list even if you are not sure when you can attend.

Who is served by Miles of Smiles Therapeutic Riding Programs?

MagicIndividuals of all ages, with a wide range of physical, cognitive and/or emotional disabilities benefit from therapeutic horseback riding and other equine activities. Individuals with the following disabilities commonly participate and benefit from equine facilitated therapy and activities:

  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Visual Impairment
  • Down Syndrome
  • Mental Retardation
  • Autism
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Spina Bifida
  • Emotional Disabilities
  • Brain Injuries
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Amputations
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Deafness
  • Cardiovascular accident/Stroke

All students, regardless of qualifications, are allowed only at the discretion of the Certified Instructors. Instructors and Program Director have the final say.

Therapeutic horseback riding is used as a tool for physical therapy, emotional growth and learning. Many riders experience a connection to the horse that few sports can create. For those riders who cannot walk, the horse is their vehicle of transport. Not only does this help raise their self-esteem but it also teaches them essential skills. It improves balance, creates trust and creates a friendship between rider and horse.

The benefits of horseback riding are as numerous as the types of disabilities and conditions served. Research shows that students who participate in therapeutic riding can experience physical, emotional and mental rewards. Because horseback riding gently and rhythmically moves the rider's body in a manner similar to a human gait, riders with physical disabilities often show improvement in flexibility, balance and muscle strength.