Therapeutic Riding

Lutherlyn Therapeutic Riding (LTR) is opening its gates to serve students with a variety of special needs. The program is founded on one of Lutherlyn's main goals: to encourage mental, emotional, and physical growth and renewal for the whole person. Success is dependent on the commitment of volunteers. We welcome students and volunteers to our program and hope you will love it with the same passion we have for providing this service.

Therapeutic riding programs offer horseback riding opportunities to students who may not be able to participate in such activities at a regular riding stable. We are able to serve students with many types of special needs ranging from cognitive and behavioral, to physical, or combinations of those needs. Horseback riding helps these students in many ways. Riders learn communication skills, cooperation, and acceptable social behaviors, as well as care and responsibility for another being. Horseback riding exercises and strengthens muscles, improves tone and stamina, increases balance, and relaxes tightness and spasticity. Additionally, horses provide a type of therapy that cannot easily be explained or reproduced by humans.

Therapeutic Riding Students will learn Grooming, Tacking, Horsemanship, and Horseback Riding skills at a pace that suits them. Lessons, teaching methods, and equestrian skills are adapted to make learning fun and effective. All lessons are conducted in a safe and supportive environment with wonderfully trained horses that are carefully selected for each rider. Lutherlyn provides year-round riding opportunities in a variety of settings: a spacious indoor arena, outdoor areas, and fields or trails. Volunteers are available to help ensure the safety of students when necessary. A ramp allows access for wheelchairs or students with limited mobility or flexibility.

The benefits of Therapeutic Riding are almost limitless, but some include:
Physical benefits:
• Strengthen core muscles
• Improve balance and coordination
• Improve gross and fine motor skills and motor planning
• Increase body awareness
• Increase stamina, flexibility, and overall physical fitness

Cognitive benefits:
• Improve communication
• Improve decision making skills
• Improve planning and problem solving skills
• Encourage independent thinking
• Provide positive sensory stimulation

Social and Behavioral benefits:
• Encourage empathy, kindness, and appropriate expression of emotions
• Interaction and bonding with the horses, instructors, volunteers, and other students in a positive and appropriate manner
• Improve leadership and teamwork skills
• Encourage self esteem and pride in accomplishment
• Increase responsibility


Programs

Lutherlyn offers three types of Therapeutic Riding programs to suit the needs of as many riders as possible.  Private and Semi-Private lessons are available during the day and some evenings, and Group lessons are typically available evenings. 

At this time, we are accepting students in all three programs. 

Group Lessons
Group lessons will run in sessions of 4 weeks.  Groups will consist of 4-6 riders and will be grouped by age and riding ability when possible.  Generally, each student will have a horse leader and 1-2 side-walkers as needed for support.  Lessons will cover the basics of horsemanship and riding skills, focusing on balance, communication with the horse, and teamwork with the group.  Lessons may include group games, team building exercises, and trail rides. Group lessons are recommended for students who are new to riding or working on basic riding skills, riders who need a moderate amount of volunteer support, and those looking to enjoy the equestrian experience in the company of others.  Group lessons are 45 minutes long.  The cost is $180 per session ($45/week).

Private Lessons
Riders will work one-on-one with an instructor on horsemanship and horseback riding skills.   Lessons can be tailored to the exact needs of each student.  Lessons will be goal-oriented and progress at a pace that is suitable to the rider.  Goals will be discussed prior to starting lessons and re-assessed periodically as needed.  Volunteers will be utilized when needed for the safety of the rider.  Private lessons are recommended for students that do not learn well in groups, need significantly more time or attention than can be given in a group setting, or riders who are more advanced or independent and want to progress further in their riding skills.  Private lessons are available in two options. Half-hour lessons are $25 and will work on ground skills OR riding skills.  One-hour lessons are $50 and will consist of both ground skills AND riding skills in each lesson on most occasions.

Semi-Private Lessons
Semi-private lessons consist of 2-3 riders and an instructor, with volunteers as needed.  Lessons will be tailored to the goals of the students, and teamwork will be encouraged.   Semi-private lessons are recommended for more independent riders who are working to progress their horsemanship skills and want to share their experience with fellow equestrians.  Semi-Private lessons are $35 for one hour and will consist of both ground and riding skills in each lesson on most occasions.

For inquiries about programming or to schedule lessons, please contact Teresa at 724-996-4577.


Volunteers

LTR  is looking for friendly, dedicated people to help with our program. Many positions are available and no horse experience is necessary! You can help us work with riders who would otherwise be unable to participate in equestrian activities. You can play a part in helping them achieve their goals while building self-confidence and independence. It's a fulfilling, fun, weekly 'horse fix' and great exercise!

Volunteers are needed in the evenings throughout the week, and many positions are available to participate in depending on your experience, skill, and comfort level.  Volunteer training will be provided for all volunteers, and our friendly staff is happy to help you along the way as well. 

Volunteer Requirements:

  • Volunteers must be at least 14 years of age.  Junior Volunteers (under 14) will be considered on a case-by-case basis and must be accompanied by an adult. 
  • Volunteers must adhere to volunteer dress code (barn-appropriate clothing), rules, and code of ethics as provided in the volunteer packet.
  • Volunteers must be friendly, responsible, and respectful.
  • Volunteers are expected to show up and be on time for scheduled shifts unless prior arrangements are made. 

Volunteer Positions:

  • Horse Leaders and Horse Preparation - Must have prior horse experience or complete training and verify skills.  May groom and tack horses before sessions and lead horses during lessons.  May be asked to assist in horse training activities.  Must be able to walk 2 miles at a moderate pace and jog occasionally
  • Side Walkers - Will assist students in lessons by walking next to the horse.  Help to ensure the safety of all riders.  Must be friendly and enjoy working with students.  Must be able to walk at least 2 miles at a moderate pace and jog occasionally.
  • TR Arena Prep - Will help prepare the arena space before TR sessions start. 
  • Student Greeter - Greet students as they arrive and get them signed in.  Get their helmets and other equipment ready as needed. 
  • Instructor’s Assistant - Help instructor throughout the lesson, especially with games and equipment. 
  • Barn Assistant - Help with daily barn chores.  Feeding, mucking, grooming, and leading horses are some examples of jobs you may be assigned.

Scheduling
Volunteer Applications can be downloaded below as well as a Volunteer Orientation Manual.   We recommend reading this prior to attending training. 

For more information on volunteering, please contact Teresa at 724-996-4577.


Therapeutic Riding Instructor

In addition to teaching private and group lessons, Teresa Davis is our PATH Certified Therapeutic Riding Program Coordinator and instructor.  

She has a true passion for our Therapeutic Riding Program and gives riders of all skill levels and needs an engaging and enjoyable experience.  We encourage you to learn more about her experience and certifications on our staff page.  

If you have any questions or would like to discuss Therapeutic Riding lessons availability, please call Teresa at 724-996-4577.