Does The Saddle Light Center need volunteers?
As a non-profit organization, the Saddle Light Center relies heavily on volunteers. In 2003, over 100 volunteers from all walks of life provided critical assistance in all areas of operations. Please see our Volunteer page for more information.
Do the horses undergo any special training to become part of the Therapeutic Riding program?
Therapeutic Riding lessons involve many non-traditional riding exercises, therefore specialized training for the horse is required. This training consists of working with the horse in specific ways to foster a highly developed sense of cooperation, patience and trust of the team members. In addition, in order to accommodate the physical differences of therapeutic riders, the horses are taught how to accept riders mounting from blocks or a ramp, and how to stand still during mounting and dismounting. They also learn how to accept riders with less balance, trunk control, and spasticity (abnormal muscle tone) than most riders.
Because lessons may involve a variety of exercises during the lessons, the horses are also taught to accept riders who remove their feet from the stirrups, or change directions to sit sideways, on their stomach or even backwards during a lesson.
What breed of horses does the Saddle Light Center use for lessons?
No particular breed is favored for equine therapy. We currently have several breeds of horses in the program, including Quarter Horses, a Tennessee Walker and a Thoroughbred. More important than breed are temperament and disposition. Our horses must enjoy being around people, as each lesson involves not only the rider, but a volunteer support team as well (a leader and one or two sidewalkers).
In addition to possessing the right temperament, each horse must also have the desired physical confirmation (height, width) and body movements (pace, gait, rhythm). Because we rely on the horse’s movements to facilitate rider reactions, a horse with the right attributes can help stimulate the rider’s balance and righting reactions and will contribute to building strength and endurance.
Are parents required to attend the lessons with their child?
Many parents prefer to participate in the lessons with their child by sidewalking (walking alongside the horse). Those not actively participating usually choose to observe the lessons.
Will health insurance cover lessons?
Most insurance carriers do not yet cover the cost of therapeutic riding lessons. Hippotherapy sessions conducted by a physical therapist may be covered under some policies. The Saddle Light Center does not assume responsibility for filing any insurance claims on behalf of their riders.
How much do lessons cost?
Therapeutic Riding Lessons are $50.00 per session and Hippotherapy is $80.00 per session.
What are the hours of operation?
Hours of operation are Monday-Friday, between 4-9 p.m. No lessons are conducted on Saturdays, as they are reserved for new rider evaluations. We are closed on Sundays.
How are appointments scheduled?
We recommend each student ride once per week. Appointments are scheduled for each rider for the same day and time slot each week.
What are lessons like?
Lessons are given in a class of two or three students that are compatible in age, ability, and type of disability. The length of the lesson depends on the riders’ endurance, which usually ranges between 20-45 minutes. Lessons are supervised by an instructor who is assisted by a volunteer team of horse leader and 1-2 sidewalkers.
Are there any requirements to be able to ride at The Saddle Light Center?
Riders must be at least two years old. All riders must provide a physician’s medical statement and a complete medical history. These will include an assessment by the physician of any contraindications or precautions as they relate to horseback riding. Once the physician referral and medical history are received, a new rider evaluation will be scheduled to determine the specific needs of the rider.