Therapeutic Program

A horse's pelvic is extremely close to a human's. Rhythmic and variable, the horse's gait mimics the bilateral, repetitive walking pattern of a healthy person. Thirty minutes of riding is equivalent to 500 steps of a healthy individual. For riders with disabilities, negotiating a horse's stride improves posture, balance, coordination, gross and fine motor skills, and core strength.

 

Physical Disabilities

At Iron Horse, we have riders with a wide variety of physical disabilities that impact their strength and mobility. Our instructors work attentively with each individual, challenging riders to exercise their limbs, stretch and move their bodies, and enjoy the many new skills learned by riding a horse.

Amy is three years and has Downs syndrome. When she came to Iron Horse, she was unable to sit up by herself. After just six rides, Amy could sit unassisted, and she could even pull herself up to a standing position at home.

 

Cognitive Disabilities

Some riders have impairments that delay learning or discourage independent-living. Working with our dynamic team of horses, instructors, and volunteers, our students develop better self-awareness; improved social and communication skills, empathy and compassion; and personal confidence.

Michael is 11 years old with Asperger's syndrome. Before he came to Iron Horse, he had very poor social skills, but riding helped him connect to the world. Now Michael is expressive, verbal, and loves to interact with the instructors and students, sharing hugs and hi-fives, and helping out with lessons and chores at the farm.

 

Emotional Disabilities

Many people have had life experiences that make it harder for them to connect to those around them. It is difficult for them to trust people, form healthy relationships, or feel good about themselves. Interacting with horses helps these individuals build confidence, improve self-esteem, and enhance their social, communication, and relationship skills.

Jonathan is autistic. At age four, he was nonverbal with flat affect, unable to share any emotion. During Jonathon's second ride, he smiled and - to his Mom's great delight - belly-laughed for the first time in his life.

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We are proud to announce that Iron Horse is now an accredited participating agency with Special Olympics Georgia. Our athletes will compete against and alongside 26,702 other athletes across the state of Georgia. Iron Horse will have their first Special Olympics Team competing October 9-11 in Gainesville for the State Horse Show. Come join our team, riders of all ages welcome, there is NO cost involved , all Special Olympic events are funded by donations.

Iron Horse - Special Olympics