" FEELS SO GOOD"  by Chuck Mangione

  • 3:14

ARU’s most active program, equine assisted activities, serves individuals with special needs from the age of four on up. Our riders exhibit a wide range of physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities, all of which are positively impacted by the interaction with a horse. All instructors are certified by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International. ARU is unique in being able to give our students and their families the comfort of knowing that a physician and several registered nurses are directly involved on site. Because the center is conveniently located on ten acres in a residential area, its homelike atmosphere provides a quiet, relaxed and safe environment to build confidence in apprehensive and novice riders.

By learning to ride, our students with physical disabilities gain improvement in balance, core muscle strength, flexibility and posture. Riding develops better gross and fine motor skills which lead to enhanced coordination and, therefore, greater self­confidence and self­esteem. The ability to competently ride a horse is an accomplishment that most able bodied peers don’t possess. 

Students with cognitive and emotional issues are aided in the areas of  concentration and social interaction. Self­awareness and focus are  developed through feedback from the horse. Patience, behavioral restraint, and confidence evolve through supervised risk taking. These qualities derive from the companionship and partnership with the horse and result in greater self­esteem. Many minimally verbal autistic students develop an expanded vocabulary and articulation as a result of their communication with the horse. Students who are uncomfortable in complex social situations are comforted by our tranquil setting. A ride through our sensory trail is particularly helpful for those with autism spectrum disorder. 

And, best of all...our students have fun!

Video courtesy of  David Block, Blind, from the recently released documentary, "Gift Horses"