Mission: The mission of Ride with Pride (RWP) is to serve those with physical, emotional, and developmental special needs through a wide range of therapeutic equine activities.
Community Need: The amount of benefit gained through therapeutic riding differs from person to person based on many factors such as the type of disability, severity of disability, motivation of the rider and connection between horse and rider. Unlike exercise machines that only focus on one muscle group at a time and do not use natural body movements, riding forces the rider to make use of the entire body to steer, control, adjust the horse and maintain balance. While most traditional therapeutic techniques often reach a plateau where the patient may lose motivation, the pleasure and excitement of riding acts to encourage patients to work through the pain and discomfort. In an eight-week study on the effects of a therapeutic riding program with participants ranging from ages 10 to 40, a significant change in four out of eight measures of sitting posture was shown. In addition, the results of a recent a ten-week study on therapeutic riding showed an improvement in sense of self-efficacy and self-esteem in participants with psychiatric disabilities.
Constituents Served: RWP is making a difference in the lives of individuals with disabilities. Physical disabilities range from cerebral palsy, spina bifida, multiple sclerosis, Down Syndrome, hearing and vision impaired, as well as recovery from stroke, and traumatic brain injuries. In meeting the emotional and mental health needs of their riders, RWP works with individuals who have been victims of abuse and neglect, who have diagnoses of ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They serve clients from Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County. In 2017, they served 152 people (a 10% increase from 2016). Their age ranges were: 4-10 (40); 11-18 (48); 19- 65 (59); and 66+ (5).
Primary Activities: RWP offers a supportive environment for the treatment of cognitive, mental health, physical, social, and emotional needs. The program utilizes functional riding skills and the rhythmic movement of the horse to achieve individual goals. Horses are unique partners for helping people with challenges because they are sensitive to the needs of their riders. Persons with disabilities are often restricted in their movements and interaction. With therapeutic riding, they are given the opportunity for independence and mobility. There are many individuals who do not respond to normal therapeutic procedures. People with cognitive, psycho-motor and behavioral disabilities have shown positive results when therapeutic riding is taught by certified equine therapists.
There are three sessions (two six-week sessions and one eight-week session). Individuals participate in a one-hour session per week. This therapeutic activity includes mounted and non-mounted exercises designed to improve physical abilities, to increase confidence and independence, and to encourage positive interpersonal interactions. One to three volunteers per student and an instructor work with a group of riders in an enclosed ring or on a trail ride. The lesson begins with the volunteer and rider grooming the horse and tacking up. The instructor assists with mounting and dismounting and then untack the horse and give it a quick brushing.
Amount Requested: $6,000
Operating Budget: $96,510