Her wobbly unsteadiness is noticeable today, but the eager 8-year-old beams with pride as she gets her very first ride on the back of her equine therapist, Fire. Horse and child move together as one, in a slow steady rhythm. The girl’s mother marvels and asks herself, how is this even possible?
What many people don’t realize is how much of an impact a horse’s movement makes on the human body. In fact, Equine therapy has become an increasingly important and integral holistic treatment, or therapeutic strategy for individuals with and without special needs, including those with physical, cognitive and emotional issues.
“I have cerebral palsy,” said Equine-Assisted Therapies of South Florida Executive Director Molly Murphy, “for me a horse moves in a three-dimensional motion which is typical of an able-bodied individual. So, for someone like me who has a different gait, or a different body movement, when I ride I’m getting the same muscle input and receiving that same muscle memory from the horse, just like any other person. And that is something that the gym, a hospital, a physical therapist and a clinic has a really hard time replicating.”
Currently serving 108 special needs children and adults, Equine-Assisted Therapies of South Florida runs four life-changing programs from their facility in Coconut Creek.
- Therapeutic Horseback Riding: Uses a therapeutic team, usually including a certified therapeutic riding instructor, two or more volunteers, and a horse, to help an individual ride a horse and work with it on the ground.
- Hippotherapy: involves an occupational therapist, a physiotherapist, or a speech and language therapist working with a client and a horse.
- Equine Facilitated Learning (EAL): An “experiential learning approach that promotes the development of life skills.
- Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EAP): Mental health professionals work with one or more clients and one or more horses in an experiential manner. The goal is to help the client in social, emotional, cognitive, or behavioral ways.
Equine-Assisted Therapies of South Florida works with fellow non-profit, Stable Place, to bring these programs to mental health facilities, and addiction counseling clinics in South Florida.
The Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association is proud to be a co-sponsor of A Day At The Races to be held in the beautiful Ten Palms restaurant on Sunday February 26, 2017 from 11:30 am to 6:30 pm.
This premiere program is presented by Gulfstream Park where you can experience live racing at its best and help make a difference in the lives of children and adults throughout South Florida. All the while supporting the horses who are the backbone of this amazing mission.
Event will include:
- Live horse racing – Breathtaking views of the legendary Gulfstream Park racetrack, and a spectacular buffet.
- Auction – 4 tickets to the Florida Derby
- Raffle to be included in a Winner’s Circle photo
- “Helpin’ the Herd” Contest – An opportunity to help any one of the 12 Equine-Assisted Therapies horses which may include buying a bale of hay, a dental treatment and more.
Led by the generosity and spirit of Peter and Anne Vegso, the event will kick off with an introduction by Chairperson Anne Vegso then a short video on the Equine-Assisted Therapies program created by Suzee Bailey.
Afterwards you will learn some of the ins and outs of thoroughbred racing and handicapping from Peter Vegso and Hall-of-Fame Jockey Jerry Bailey.
There will also be a race named for Equine-Assisted Therapies, will you be in the winner’s circle picture with us?
We are asking as many horsemen that are able to come support this fantastic cause.
If you would like more information, please contact:
Equine-Assisted Therapies of South Florida at 954-974-2007.
Thank you in advance for your support, participation and generosity!