The Therapeutic Riding Program (TRP) is dedicated solely to helping children with special needs aged 4 to 17 years old. Offered weekly by appointment, riders receive personal instruction on horseback from one of our therapeutic riding instructors, with a team of three volunteers and one very special therapy horse.
Activities take place in a normal equine environment and the riding sessions are augmented with therapeutic games and activities, adapted to focus on the specific needs and abilities of each rider. At Haku Baldwin Center, we focus on what our riders CAN do, rather than their disability, disorder or injury. Sessions include indoor arena activities and outdoor trail rides on our beautiful grounds.
WHY A HORSE?
A horse, being a dynamic living animal, lends itself perfectly to a multi-sensory approach. Grooming, mounting, and riding all contain therapeutic virtues. Touch, feel, smell, and movement all become important aspects for learning and growing. Many persons restricted to wheelchairs, or other assistive mobility devices, are able to be independently mobile for the first time while riding a horse.
- The act of being on a horse can encourage stretching and strengthening of underused or underdeveloped muscles, improved posture and coordination, development of gross and fine motor skills, and improved range of motion.
- Because a horse’s natural gait, or movement, is similar to the human gait, horseback riding can improve flexibility, balance, and strength. It’s a wonderful form of exercise for people of all abilities.
- In addition, riders can increase their self-esteem and self-confidence, learn problem-solving skills, and increase focus and ability to stay on task.
- Our gentle therapy horses provide great motivation and an experience to develop the human-animal bond.
- Most of all, horseback riding is a fun activity!
For the rider’s comfort and safety, each child has a volunteer who walks (or trots!) next to them during sessions. Our therapy horses are carefully chosen and must pass a series of tests before being accepted into the program. We offer both a standard mounting block with steps and a wheelchair ramp for riders using adaptive mobility equipment.
There is no cost for riders to participate in this program. Ready to apply today? Want more information? Call us at (808) 572-9129 or send us a message through our Contact Page.
Haku Baldwin Center is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. We’re located in beautiful Makawao, on the island of Maui, Hawaii. Funding for our therapeutic programs comes mostly through public donations. If you’d like to donate today, click here.
Want to volunteer? Click here.