Adaptive Equestrian Programs

Our equestrian program offers three different forms of equine-assisted activities or therapies (EAAT). Hippotherapy, equine-facilitated learning (EFL) and Adaptive horseback riding with a trail riding specific option take place six days per week, year round. All three programs offer therapeutic benefits for individuals with cognitive, behavioral, or physical disabilities, while adaptive riding and Hippotherapy have proven to be particularly effective with children.

Equine-assisted activities help all people realize benefits that reach far beyond their actual time with a horse. The horse helps to facilitate relationships between the participant and members of their team; including the instructors, interns, volunteers, other students and themselves. And, these skills carry over into the individual’s home life and personal relationships. Our instructors and staff are dedicated to helping individuals grow and develop their independent potential. We utilize specialized adaptive and traditional equipment, supportive and caring volunteers and of course, exceptional equine partners to create safe and fun programs.

 

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Additional Information:

Each equestrian program has specific age and weight ranges–please review the descriptions to help guide you to the program that will meet your specific needs and goals. Please review the Precautions and Contraindications page to see if you have any conditions that may require special precautions or adaptations.

For questions, to discuss your goals and which of our programs program might suit your needs or for more information about our Equestrian Programs, please contact our Equestrian Program Manager, Marci Bender at 435-649-3991 ext. 640 or marcib@discovernac.org.

 

The National Ability Center is a Premier Accredited Center with the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.). We are located at the Bronfman Family Ranch Recreation and Education Center, just five minutes outside Park City, Utah. The National Ability Center equestrian program is the only PATH, Intl. Premier Accredited Center in the state of Utah. Achieving and maintaining this credential demonstrates our program’s commitment to providing the highest level of programming and industry standards to our participants. 

 

Meet Our Horses:

The National Ability Center “employs” around fifteen horses to help deliver our equestrian programs.  Learn more about our four-legged staff members: Our Horses

Horse Bios

Equestrian Program Video:

Adaptive Horseback Riding

Adaptive horseback riding is a horsemanship program offered in a private or group setting, taught or overseen by a specially trained and certified instructor who designs the lesson to meet specific riding skill goals through activities that develop cognitive, physical and/or social skills. The program operates in four to eight week sessions, providing opportunities for participants to build their skills over a series of weekly lessons. Single lessons are offered for those wishing to experience the joy of equine interaction on a customized schedule. Single lessons are a popular choice for visitors to Park City during any season of the year.

Adaptive Riding qualifications: Minimum age: 4 years old for private lessons (individuals with a diagnosis), 8 years for individuals without a diagnosis/disability; Maximum Weight: 200 lbs. Participants over this weight are invited to participate in un-mounted activities such as EFL or groundwork lessons.

 

Adaptive Trail Riding

Our adaptive horseback riding Trail Riding option is a program designed for individuals or groups of up to four to utilize the tremendous trail system located right behind the NAC Ranch. This is a two hour experience that starts out in the arena where participants learn basic skills needed to navigate the exciting terrain encountered out on the trail. While on the trail, participants will view beautiful vistas of Park City and the surrounding areas from a unique perspective. Trail rides are led by experienced staff and volunteers to ensure safety and an enjoyable ride. In order for us to serve your unique and individual needs, please see the precautions and contraindications section and let us know if you will require any adaptations.

Trail Riding option qualifications: Minimum age: 8 years old and able to ride and control the horse independently; Maximum Weight: 220 lbs

Hippotherapy

Hippotherapy is a treatment strategy utilized by a physical, occupational or speech language pathologist using the movement of the horse as a treatment modality. At the National Ability Center we currently provide both physical and occupational therapy in our Hippotherapy program. The National Ability Center is a member of the American Hippotherapy Association (AHA). Hippotherapy literally means “treatment with the help of the horse” from the Greek word, “hippos,” meaning “horse.” Hippotherapy provides a fun and interactive form of treatment which brings the patient out of a traditional clinical setting and advances treatment goals in a motivating way. The therapy team consists of a licensed therapist (in any of the three practices mentioned) who is trained to utilize hippotherapy in their practice by the American Hippotherapy Association, a trained horse handler, volunteers and a specially chosen equine. Treatments consist of 35 minutes on the horse, with pre- or post- treatment incorporated dependent on the functional goals of the patient. In time, the patient may improve and meet their functional goals, providing the opportunity to transition into an adaptive riding program.

Hippotherapy qualifications: Min age: 2 years; Max weight: 100 lbs.

 

Equine-Facilitated Learning (EFL)

Equine-facilitated learning (EFL) is an educational approach that incorporates equine-facilitated activities and equine/human interaction in an environment of learning and self-discovery. Horses are non-judgmental beings that facilitate learning in a positive and immediate manner. Our experienced, trained staff have the training necessary to help participants gain understanding of the equine experience and how to apply that experience to their everyday life. Our staff facilitator credentials include training in equine-facilitated learning and coaching (EFLC) and certification in the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EGALA).

EFL offers a wide variety of opportunities within the program including team building, group retreats, self development and youth programs. All of our sessions take place on the ground with no riding involved, and with staff trained in safety and horse behavior present at all times. No prior horse experience is needed to participate in any of our EFL programs or retreats.

EFL qualifications: minimum 8 years old.

 

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