Dreamcatchers Horse Back Riding is Inspirational
“Where to you get your energy ?” That is a question I am often asked. I am energized and inspired by my clients. The very people who come to me for help and inspriation. It’s a strange world.
After volunteering at dawn at the VTLA Fun Run in Colonial Williamsburg and then racing in the Dismal Swamp in Jamestown I had the opportunity to watch a young client take a riding lesson at Dream Catchers near Williamsburg, Virginia.is a premier therapeutic riding center. It is immaculate, well-staffed and happy place. Students who participate in their programs have an array of disabilities, including traumatic brain injury, paralysis, autism and cerebral palsy. The instructors are certified by the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association. My client has been participating in the riding program with DreamCatchers in Toano, outside of Williamsburg. When I watched Tori ride in the magnificent indoor ring with several instructors and volunteers, you could see that she was enjoying the activity and they were attentive to her needs. This 11-year-old girl is shown feeding carrots to the large Tennessee Walking Horse that she rides and also with her proud mother outside.
The physical benefits of therapeutic riding are derived from the gait of the horse, which resembles a human’s natural walking movement. No machine or exercise equipment can simulate all these natural body movements at once. Most riders see increases in muscle tone, improved flexibility and range of motion. The rider must adjust his or her posture to stay balanced on a horse, so equilibrium reactions are stimulated which help with balance, orientation, and body awareness. After a session at Dream Catchers, the core muscles used for balance are exhausted and gains in strength and proprioception are achieved. My hope and prayer are that Tori and others participating in therapeutic riding programs can continue to see improvement in their strength, stamina, confidence and neuromuscular coordination.