Equine Therapeutic Programs
+ Paints-Plus Equine Center +
Therapeutic Horseback Riding is a recreational therapy for individuals with disabilities who ride horses to relax and to develop coordination, confidence, and balance. This program is for riders that can’t join our regular lesson program.
Hippotherapy has our occupational therapist work with the client on the horse, with an assistant leading it. Different movements of the horse present challenges to the rider to promote different postural responses and enhance neurological and physical functioning.
Equine-Assisted Therapy is the use of equines to treat human psychological problems. It may involve riding or ground exercises. Our occupational therapist works with clients and horses in an experiential manner to help the clients learn about themselves and others, while processing or discussing the client's feelings, behaviours, and patterns. The goal is to help in social, emotional, cognitive, behavioral ways.
Horses are large, sensitive animals which can engage people to positively overcome fears, anxieties, depression and low self-esteem. Our equine assisted program uses this unique relationship with the horse to promote and motivate children and adults to improve physical and cognitive skills.
Horses require us to work, whether caring for them or working with them. In an era when immediate gratification and the “easy way” are the norm, horses require people to be engaged in physical and mental work to be successful, a valuable lesson in all aspects of life.
8 Weekly lessons is $500+GST without sponsorship. Fridays 5-530pm, 4/class, Wednesday afternoon options may be available if enough interest.
Click for Registration form for Therapeutic Riding, Hippotherapy & Equine Assisted Therapy
Session #1: October 21-December 14, 2022
Session #2: March 3 - Apr 27, 2023
The Colchester & District Agricultural Society will be sponsoring up to 12 students each session for $200 each to cover part of the cost. Full payment must be received at Paints-Plus before they will send out a cheque for the sponsorship to the payee within the first week of the session.
Submitting an application does not guarantee acceptance into the program. Riders must be able to hold a sitting position while the horse is moving.
As we do not have a ramp or lift, riders must be able to mount with 2 assistants. Maximum recommended weight is 200lbs. Riders must have their own ASTM riding helmet and boots with a heel. We will need a clearance letter from your doctor as well as a signed release and hold harmless waiver.
Riders accepted into the program are done so on a trial basis, as therapeutic riding is not appropriate for everyone. 1 private trial lesson may be done for $100 before signing up for an 8 week session.
To volunteer as an Equine Assistant, please email us. Please note you must be at least 16 years of age with 3 years riding experience.
Click here for Lesson Horse Pictures and Descriptions
Gail Praharenka is a full time Occupational Therapist with over 25 years of experience working with children, adults, and seniors primarily in areas of neurology where she learned various approaches to rehabilitation of medical conditions. She also worked for several years in Mental Health helping clients through an occupational model with addictions, depression and anxieties. She has extensively studied cognition and methods of learning. She has also owned and ridden many horses for over 20 years. Call/text Gail at 780-993-3470.
Christine Whitelaw has been an occupational therapist for over 35 years and owns a private practice in Edmonton. She also holds a diploma in Animal Assisted Wellness and is pursuing further education in Equine Assisted Learning and Hippotherapy. She has been leasing, taking lessons, and trail riding with us for a few years. She has been volunteering with our program since 2021.