We're often asked, “What is the goal of your program? What are you trying to achieve?” These are excellent questions. Although our program does include mounted work, we do not focus on the elements included in traditional riding lessons. Instead, our goal is to to help students improve their life skills in partnership with the horse. A typical lesson includes:
Participants should dress appropriately for the weather, as we do not have heat or A/C in the arena. Riders should wear long pants and closed toe shoes or boots. We supply riding helmets, which must be worn at all times around the horses. Jewelry and hair ornaments can catch on the horse’s mane and tail and should not be worn to lessons. A simple tie back is fine to keep hair away from the rider’s face.
Helmets are required for participation. We understand that wearing a helmet can be unsettling for some people. If wearing the helmet is an ongoing struggle for students, we will lend them a helmet to practice wearing at home to help them acclimate.
Starlight reserves the right to determine if a person is suitable for our program. We work with people at various functional levels and with a broad range of disabilities. However, there are some circumstances we may not be able to accommodate, including, but not limited to the following:
Therapeutic riding is generally offered for riders starting at age six, but we do occasionally allow exceptions. We also work with youth and adults.
As a therapeutic horsemanship program, we are not a hippotherapy program. Hippotherapy utilizes the horse's movement to enhance the treatment goals of an individual as set by a Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist, or Speech-Language Pathologist, who is present during the service. Therapeutic riding is an equine-assisted activity for the purpose of contributing positively to the cognitive, physical, emotional, and social well-being of individuals with special needs.