condsidering my horse for TR, where do I begin?
Though its a quite long story, the concise version is I have a horse that is suffering from back pain that I think might be a candidate for therapeutic riding.
I have a lot more sleuthing to do about his condition, but he is sound without drugs or management of any kind, just has very special needs when it comes to weight on his back. He can be ridden, as long as consideration to how weight is distributed. He does best when in a consistent light work program. He's otherwise sound, zero maintenance, extremely easy keeper and kid-safe.
On top of this, though he needs some more training, I think he has the innate personality not only to cut it as a TR horse but also thrive. I've had two horses in the past that were accepted for TR programs, so I'm familiar in general terms, as an outsider looking in, of what one looks for.
I'm not set on this idea, just considering it as an option. I'm frankly all over the map emotionally with this horse, I'm really hoping he cuts it as a driving horse, he's doing well so far.
So my question is, how do I get started doing my homework? The first thing is I need to get familiar with the different job options and requirements for a TR horse and see what I think he might fit and I can groom him for. Is there a standard? or is it up to the individual facility's style and client base?
Then I need to get familiar with the tack used, and whether it'll suit him, and/or if I can modify it to suit. Are there ever any TR options involving driving?
Finally, I love my horse and he always has a home with me for life. Though I'd be looking to donate him, how can I ensure that he always comes home to me if for some reason he doesn't work out or isn't useable? And, can I be part of his training in his new home, and monitor his progress and stay a part of his life?
My first inclination was to just start cold calling and visiting centers in my area, but I thought better of that as I might come across as a crazy lady looking to dump her horse, which couldn't be furthest from the truth. I really think he's got what it takes, but I need to know more.
More than one way to help
There are other ways of helping besides mounted work. Equine assisted therapy is one. I would suggest talking to some of the centers on our forum. Check the stickies at the top of the forum.
Equineartworks, DressageGeek(specialhorses) can help direct you.
Frequently there are fundraising threads on the off course forum for the ones that specialhorses helps.
There are introduction threads that you can find using the "search" key, too.
The national organizations have information, too.