We offer an adapted, outdoor recreational riding program for children which fosters a bond between rider and horse. Similar to therapeutic riding, the gentle movement of the horse as well as the relationship between horse and rider naturally strengthens physical, cognitive, and social skills in the child. We will not require the child to work towards any specific medical goals outlined by their physician or therapist. This is not a therapy session, but rather the opportunity for a child to recreationally ride a horse while enjoying the spiritual and emotional benefits, while being supported by a team of caring and nurturing volunteers. We offer a 3:1 ratio of staff to student, where there is one volunteer leading the horse and 2 volunteers for support on either side of the horse and child, if needed. Most riding sessions will take place out on our peaceful, winding, wooded trails that will stimulate the child’s senses and offer a sense of calm in the beauty of nature. If the trails are not passable due to conditions or weather related issues, we will utilize our outdoor arena (also depending on conditions, footing and safety) as an alternate. Please note, we do not offer indoor riding at this time.
In addition to riding sessions, NSN offers children the opportunity to participate in non-riding activities that still incorporate therapeutic human-horse interaction. The intuitive and accepting nature of the horse motivates participants in all of our programs to achieve physical, emotional, social and educational goals whether on the horse or not! Both of our non-riding options provide the opportunity for children to safely care for and build a relationship with their horse from the ground using natural horsemanship methods. This special relationship with the horse promotes trust, mutual respect, communication, self-confidence, assertiveness, and leadership skills. The two non-riding programs sessions below are interchangeable, meaning the child can choose weekly which option they would like to do.
Activities in and around the barn are adapted to the child’s abilities and can include learning parts of the horse, how horses communicate with us, how we can care for horses by feeding and watering them, grooming them and keeping their living areas clean and dry (and teaching why all those things are important!). Children can choose specific activities weekly, including grooming, bathing, braiding, decorating, tacking, leading, basic training exercises, and even playing games with their horse from the ground. This program encourages nurturing, compassion, outward focus, responsibility, empowerment and leadership as well as communication with their horse and their volunteer leader.
Hiking With Horses
For those children not comfortable with being on top of a horse, but who still want to enjoy the benefits of our trails, Hiking With Horses provides them the opportunity to commune in nature with their special four legged friend. Our trails offer a rich learning environment of woodland paths consisting of slopes, turns, varied footing, natural sights and sounds and the opportunity to witness other animals in nature, including wild rabbits, turkey, deer, birds, toads, butterflies, and the occasional garden snake! In this peaceful environment, the child observes the world around (outward focus) and is led to interact with it naturally while leading the horse. The trails stimulate the senses and help strengthen physical balance and coordination while fostering empowerment, responsibility, compassion, confidence, communication and leadership.
2020 Session Dates and Times
Participants can ride and/or enjoy other horse related activities for one half hour per week on their scheduled date and time. Please call or email for availability for any/all session offerings.