The Colorado Therapeutic Riding Center, located just outside of Longmont, Colo. facilitates differently abled children and adults accomplishing therapeutic goals through riding horses. The CTRC houses around 30 horses at any given time; a mix of “retired” horses and those used for therapy. Volunteering for CTRC means interacting with the equine therapists, as well as creating bonds with riders to help them accomplish their personal goals.
Many of The Riding Center successes are in the hippotherapy program. Hippotherapy uses the natural movements of the equine companion to foster increased mobility, strength, and cognitive function. According to the Colorado Therapeutic Riding Center, “...the horse’s natural three-dimensional movement mimics a typical human gait creating a gentle rhythmic movement that aides in improving overall balance, strength, muscle control and tone, motor development and coordination.”
Another favorite program is “Mini Troopers”, which stars CTRC’s miniature horse, Carmella. She travels with a human companion to different locations for individuals that can’t come to them.
“We’ve seen people that won’t interact or are dealing with depression, come out of their rooms to see Carmella,” said Outreach and Education Coordinator Sue Winthrop. “This really helps with social and emotional issues. It helps relieve that depression and loneliness.”
“I volunteer as a side-walker which means I help in classes by facilitating the interaction between the rider and the horse,” said 3-year volunteer Linda Brothers. “Whatever that rider needs to work on their skills and build their strengths, we help support that.” Horse experience is not needed for volunteers above age 14.