Facts and General Guidelines
How do I participate?
Receive equine assisted life coaching
As a rider
As a volunteer
What about confidentiality?
Everyone at Envision respects everyone’s privacy. Our staff and volunteers are trained and sign a confidentiality agreement.
What safety precautions do you take?
Every effort is taken to maximize the safety of clients, volunteers, staff and horses. Our staff and volunteers are experienced and trained in safety and emergency procedures and pass a confidential background check. Riders are required to wear ASTM approved, SEI certified horseback riding helmets and sturdy closed toed shoes. Our horses are specially trained for equine assisted therapeutic activities. Riders are assigned up to three volunteers. Depending on their needs, there will be a horse leader, a side walker or spotter and a specialized coach to guide the lesson under the instruction of the CTRI. Despite all the specialized training, horses are still animals and can be unpredictable.
What kind of horses do you use?
We use horses of all breeds, sizes, gaits and colors in order to fit each client’s need. Generally they are older and very experienced in life which gives them a calm and patient attitude.
Where are you located?
We are centrally located about a mile off the 51 and Shea near the Phoenix Mountain Reserve
What is the cost?
Prices vary depending upon the services required.
What do I wear?
Sturdy closed toed shoes that will not slip off your feet and long pants. Sandals of any kind are not acceptable.
What if it rains?
It may only be raining in your part of the valley so please call to see if sessions have been cancelled.
Can family members ride the horses?
No, however we do offer family support programs involving the horses.
Equine Assisted Therapeutic Activities
What are Equine Assisted Therapeutic Activities (EATA?)
EATA are experiential activities used to help build and rebuild emotional and relational skills. They are facilitated by a certified Equine Assisted Life Coach.
Will you work with my current treatment team?
Absolutely. We work with all members of your treatment team, MD, therapist and nutritionist and others.
Do we ride the horses?
Not usually. Ninety percent of all sessions are ground based.
Do I need horse experience?
No previous horse experience is necessary.
What if I’m afraid of horses?
The level of involvement with the horse always stays within the client’s comfort level. Fear does not interfere with the effectiveness of the session.
How long is a session?
Usually sessions run 50 minutes one or two times a week.
Is this seasonal?
Sessions typically run October through May. Clients can start any time.
Do all sessions involve working with a horse?
What disabilities do you serve?
We work with clients with Autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Asperger Syndrome, MS, developmental delays, stroke, traumatic brain injuries and more.
What ages do you serve?
Our clients range from 4 years old through adult. Our oldest rider so far was 80.
How often do participants ride?
We offer 6 week sessions beginning in September and ending in mid-June. New riders can begin anytime during the year, but it is encouraged and beneficial to ride at least 5 ride sessions.
Is therapeutic riding covered by insurance?
Not usually, but check with your provider.
Will you work with our OT/PT and speech therapists?
Absolutely. It is important that the therapies have a common goal for the rider. It is also important that there be ongoing communication with the family as far as the rider’s needs, personality, emotions, etc.
What if I have to miss a lesson due to illness or conflict?
Due to scheduling issues no makeup classes are available. Please call if you will be unable to attend your scheduled class.
What if it rains?
We will make every effort to ride and make timely calls for cancellations due to the weather. Sometimes lessons will need to be cancelled at the last minute or end early in the event of lightning or other dangers. Remember, it may be raining in your part of the valley but not at our facility.
How do participants get on the horse?
We use a mounting platform with 5 steps. This can be used for dismounts as well, but usually dismounts are in the arena with the assistance of CTRI. Special accommodations for wheel chairs can be made under certain circumstances.
What should I wear?
Sturdy closed toed shoes that will not slip off your feet and long pants. Sandals of any kind are not acceptable. You will need to provide your own ASTM approved, SEI certified horseback riding helmet, in the correct size, for all mounted activities. Bicycle helmets are not acceptable.
What kind of tack do the horses use?
Our clients ride in what we call “bareback pads”. These are thick pads without stirrups so the rider is able to feel and benefit from the horses movement without the restrictions of a saddle. The horse is led by a qualified horse leader using a halter and lead rope.
What is the history of therapeutic riding?
Therapeutic riding has been around since 1925. It is practiced in some form in most countries around the world. Great Britain formed the Riding for the Disabled (RDA) program initially to promote competition and equine sports for the disabled. Israel formed the Israel National Therapeutic Riding Association (INTRA) to promote the same goals to include helping its country’s military veterans. Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH International) formerly the Northern American Riding for Handicapped Association (NARHA) and the Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association (EFMHA) in the United States put forward a model that incorporates therapy, education, sport and recreation and leisure activities, as well as, high standards, safety and regulations.
How are Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructors (CTRI) trained?
A prospective CTRI will already have extensive horse experience, with a background in training, caring for horses, and instructing people of all ages. To begin a candidacy, a minimum of 25 hours of student teaching is required under the close guidance of a CTRI along with a two day PATH International workshop and passing rigorous evaluations. Envision Instructors are required to have certification and 3 years of experience. After which they are mentored by a staff member to assure our high standards continue to be met. Certified instructors are also required to submit yearly continuing education hours to PATH and maintain their membership.
What is PATH International?
Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship
(PATH) is an internationally known organization which promotes safe, professional, ethical and therapeutic equine activities through education, communication, standards and research for people with disabilities.
What are the physical benefits of therapeutic riding?
The three dimensional gait of the horse closely simulates the movement of the human pelvis and is a valuable therapeutic tool. This movement and the warmth of the horse, promote many physical benefits, such as, increased circulation, relaxation of tight muscles, strengthening of weak muscles, increase in pelvic and trunk mobility, development of balance and coordination and improvement in posture. See also What is Therapeutic Riding
here for more explanation.
What are the social benefits?
Group riding interactive activities promote socialization, increased vocalization and attention span. Each rider has short and long-term therapeutic riding objectives which are monitored and measured to meet and challenge the rider’s abilities. See also What is Therapeutic Riding
here for more explanation.