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Question of the Month: How is therapeutic riding different from traditional horseback riding lessons?

Answer: At first glance, therapeutic riding lessons can look a lot like traditional riding lessons. Giant Steps’ riders are learning horsemanship, equitation, and riding skills, just as riders do at a traditional riding stable. What makes therapeutic riding unique, though, is that these skills are being taught as a way of working toward a larger life goal.

In each lesson, the PATH International certified therapeutic riding instructor makes a lesson plan with a measurable objective. The objective will tie directly to a life skill that the rider is working on.

For example, a young rider who wants to learn to ride a bike may be working on direct reining, to learn right-left declination and steering, as well as two-point position and walk/trot transitions to increase balance and core strength. A group of riders who are working on self-care may groom their horses before their ride. Riders working on confidence will work on posture and progressively learn to ride off lead at the walk, and then the trot.

At the end of each term,  progress toward their riding goals and related life skills is evaluated and new goals are set for the following term.