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Trainers for physically disabled riders

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  • #41
    Originally posted by pintopiaffe View Post
    I work with special students of all sorts. I do NOT claim to do 'therapeutic' riding because I am unable to spend the time and $$$$ to get my NARHA Certification. I work with both physically and mentally challenged riders, using dressage as the basis for it. I breed and bring along my own school horses specifically for a combination of temperament and talent--they need to be sensitive in one way (say, to follow the aids of a rider with little/no use of legs) and tolerant in other ways.
    I am not certified either pintopiaffe, however there is no reason why you cannot indeed say you offer therapeutic riding. If you have a program that offers a benefit to a special needs rider you are indeed offering therapeutic riding and should be proud of it!

    Our program was developed based upon NARHA and American Hippotherapy Association guidelines. Right now the $1000 or more it would cost us to each certify is money better spent on building the program. We will do it eventually...but the most important goal right now is meeting the needs of the riders.

    I may haunt the dressage forum frequently now that I know there are so many of you interested in TR!
    I Loff My Quarter Horse & I love Fenway Bartholomule cliques

    Just somebody with a positive outlook on life...go ahead...hate me for that.

    Comment


    • #42
      How to rubber band the stirrup

      I am a NARHA registered instructor and during my certification workshop last year, I was told by the evaluators how to rubber band a foot in the stirrup. Let me assure you, if done correctly and with narrow rubber bands, it is safe!

      First you need a longish rubber band (I specifically have 1/4lb weight, size 117 OfficeMax brand). These are thin and about 5 inches long.

      Second, you take the foot out of the stirrup and put the rubber band over the foot behind the ball of the foot (leave the rubber band hanging down toward the ground).

      Third, foot goes back in the stirrup. Adjust foot to where it needs to be in stirrup.

      Fourth, pull rubber band under stirrup and put back over riders foot.

      I hope my explanation makes sense......you almost have to see it to do it!

      I don't figure eight mine and the rubber band will slide off if the foot manages to get out of the stirrup. This doesn't provide a super strong hold in the stirrup; it just provides some support, especially if the rider has no feeling or use of the foot. If the leg/foot is really spastic, this method won't hold the foot in the stirrup for very long because it is not a strong "fix".

      Erica

      If anyone has a disability and is in the South Bend, IN area, my barn owner used to be heavily involved in the paraolympics and has school horses that are very safe! She still teaches some and she even has a wheelchair ramp in her indoor for mounting! Rebecca Hart, who is the 2008-9 National Paraolympic Champion and 2008 Beijing Paraolympian, trained with my barn owner through high school and spent a year at her farm!
      Erica and Joe
      "We ride and never worry about the fall. I guess that's just the cowboy in us all" Tim McGraw-The Cowboy in Me

      http://community.webshots.com/user/eventer4ever

      Comment


      • #43
        I got instructions on how to rubber band my foot from another COTHer during the thread about the Ontyte stirrups.

        I have to say that it really makes a difference. I use the size/#107 rubber band that I ordered from Staples and the instructions from eventer4ever on how to use them are correct. However, I have to say that the band I use gives me a tight, secure fit that ensures my foot does not move in the stirrup at all. It holds my foot in place and keeps it there. I did jerk my foot out of the stirrup, just to see if I could, and found that the band will release when force is applied. I am sure if I were to come off the band will break or stretch enough to release my foot.
        Sheilah

        Comment


        • #44
          This is wonderful! Dressagegeek and Equineartworks and Pintopiaffe, I have been admiring you all for months! You have shown some of the best and kindest thoughts on the whole collection of forums! Thanks for your enthusiasm!
          Intermediate Riding Skills

          Comment


          • #45
            Here are the banding dircections I sent to Idaho Rider:

            "When I ride, I use a #107 rubber band to hold my foot in the stirrup. It makes a HUGE difference. If you Google #107 rubber band, you will find tons of sources to buy the bands and they are cheap. When your foot is out of the stirrup you put the band around the toe of your boot (behind where your foot will be once it is in the stirrup), then place your foot in the stirrup where you want it, twist the band underneath the stirrup and band it over the toe again. It gives me a very secure feeling when riding, but requires someone else to band and unband. I haven't been able to do that myself from the saddle yet."

            For those of you local to Maryland/Virginia/DC, I spoke to Missy about doing some riding clinics at my Frederick County farm and she gave me some weekday possibilities in September and then after October 31st, some weekend possibilities. I will be happy to email anyone interested when I confirm the dates she will be at my farm. As I said in my earlier post, anyone would learn a tremendous amount riding with Missy. And with her eventing successes, I'm sure that the interest in her teaching methods would include those who ride over fences.
            GoodNess Ridge Farm
            www.goodnessridge.com

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #46
              This is it...I need to move south where I can do some clinics. I'm close to all the Boston hospitals, but I'd much rather be in riding country!!!!
              Beth

              Comment


              • #47
                We have names for sub programs...but not THE name. Help?
                Sorry EAW, InnisFailte is taken. It means 'pastures of welcome' or 'forever welcome.'

                Invite... where are you? I come down to Merrimac, MA to ride, and have some connections there VERY interested in doing some sort of therapuetic work. They also have upper level schoolmasters who would be quite suitable for lessons/clinics etc.

                I teach through 2ndish (have one student working in 3rd) and my teacher takes them beyond...

                Geek... you keep thinking like that, and keep me in the loop, 'kay? I can't travel too often or for too long... but really want to stay connected with the ideas started here.
                InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs
                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)

                Comment


                • #48
                  I loved volunteering at a therapeutic riding center, I hope you do it pintopiaffe.

                  We really don't have anywhere near enough information here and discussion of para-dressage. We need a lot more goin' on here on this subject! I think I can visualize the rubber band thing, but I hope other folks as well will post here about equipment and training more.
                  Last edited by slc2; Aug. 5, 2009, 10:13 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #49
                    I buy stick on Velcro (hook and loop) and stick one side on the ball of my boot and the other on the stirrup iron. It's not 100% stick um but works to keep irons on my feet. I do not ride with long, long leathers. I wear full seat breeches and rub Equitite on the inside of my boot so my lower legs stay pretty quiet. I no longer show so I don't know if this is show-ring 'legal' but don't see why not if you tell TD/show sec.

                    I know a disabled rider with a bumpersticker that says "I ride the talk"

                    and explained he can't walk the walk, but he can ride the talk

                    Comment


                    • #50
                      Thorncroft Equestrian Center in Malvern PA has just the type of clinics you guys are talking about. I don't know how local they are to many of you but they really do a great job with all types of riders.

                      You who've been to Devon may have seen the Mainstreamers, the drill team for kids of all abilities from Thorncroft. It's really a neat place, with room for everyone. There are many clinics offered through the year. The Ransehausen's have cliniced there several times in the last few years.

                      Thorncroft.org It's worth a look

                      Comment


                      • #51
                        Just another vote here for Thorncroft and their clinics. Having shown at Thorncroft (both HRE of Devon (I have cerebral palsy) and their schooling shows), I can say I adore the staff, facilities, and horses. I've never had the pleasure of taking a clinic there, but would love to if I get back east long-term.

                        I was priveliged enough to be part of the 1995 Paralympic hopeful/devloping riders training camp, and had lessons with some incredible trainers. Names that I recall: Louie Plagge, Sarah Cotton (based in France now), and Trip Harting... there were at least a dozen more, and it was an experience that I'll never forget.

                        Honestly, I think most trainers are fairly open to "tweaking" their systems to work with riders with disabilities. Oddly enough, I found my dressage trainer from reccommendations of others with Morgans re: her ability to worl with their unique mindsets. Any adaptations made for me were just another part of the package deal. So they *are* out there, sometimes it just takes a different perspective to find them.

                        Love this thread; looking forward to hearing from others as well.

                        Comment


                        • #52
                          Ah, EAW and I, as so often, our minds humming along the same paths.

                          After all...since we are thinking along these lines for Special Horses Inc it is not so much to incorporate them into ..into..WE NEED A NAME FOR EAW'S NEW PROGRAM!!!

                          So...what would be a meaningful name to any of you?
                          www.specialhorses.org
                          a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues

                          Comment


                          • #53
                            How about more description?

                            Equineartworks,

                            Please tell us more about your idea and program. Where is it? What is it's purpose, mission and focus? Is it regional or geographical? What are it's unique features that you want to emphasize? Are you creating an umbrella organization? Have you done any marketing surveys? Please pm me with whatever details you feel comfortable, and I will brainstorm with you
                            Intermediate Riding Skills

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #54
                              Originally posted by whicker View Post
                              Equineartworks,

                              Please tell us more about your idea and program. Where is it? What is it's purpose, mission and focus? Is it regional or geographical? What are it's unique features that you want to emphasize? Are you creating an umbrella organization? Have you done any marketing surveys? Please pm me with whatever details you feel comfortable, and I will brainstorm with you
                              I agree, more info would be fantastic.
                              I am hoping more trainers and riders will chime in with their ideas and join this topic. I am really hoping for some "normal" trainers (trainers who don't just work with para-equestrains) to let us know if/how they are willing to adjust their training techniques. I would love to hear from "real" judges and know what they think about riders showing at "real" shows with dispensations and if this affects their scoring in any way.
                              Beth

                              Comment


                              • #55
                                Pintopiaffe Requested

                                Hi Pintopiaffe,

                                You have a new pm from me.
                                Intermediate Riding Skills

                                Comment


                                • #56
                                  Thanks, eventer4ever, for mentioning my former coach in South Bend, In. She is excellent. She worked with me from late 98 through 99 and 2000 to get ready to try out for the Sydney 2000 U.S. Paralympic Dressage Team. I was the 1999 overall Grade 3 Champion for the year, was the highest placed individual on the 2000 team as well as had the highest individual score of our team members. It was a wonderful experience and I shall treasure it forever. There are trainers/teachers that will take on physically challenged riders - but you do have to ask around and make sure of their qualifications to teach. I taught for 30 years before deciding to take on the challenge of trying out for a team and am a certified instructor from Morven Park (1970).

                                  Comment


                                  • #57
                                    I wish I could remember people's names because it's been a while, BUT... back in the mid-90's I volunteered at some shows sponsored by ACORD, which was not specifically a NARHA group but its goal was to organize shows at a national level for riders with disabilities. Some were participants in therapeutic riding programs, others were more interested in paralympic-level competition. The idea, as I understood it, was to "up the ante" and provide a training ground, so to speak, for future paralympic riders. That was also the first year riders with disabilities were included in the NAYRC. Anyway, ACORD seems to have faded away over the years but there are still many individuals involved in therapeutic riding who either teach or compete at the higher levels or could be a resource for people who want to get involved. The names I do remember are Gail Pace and Lily Kellogg in Texas and Sandy Rafferty in MO. Pal-o-Mine on Long Island was also very involved in getting riders to national competitions. I suspect you could contact these people or programs and find out if they have personal/professional contacts in your area. I don't think people realize how many "bridges" there are between therapeutic riding and paralympic riding, especially in the parts of the country where there's a lot of serious dressage.

                                    Approaching it from a different angle -- have you approached your local GMO (dressage group) to network? is it possible to go to some of the bigger shows in your area to sit and watch coaches and riders and scope out styles you like? I'm thinking your best bet is likely to be either a) get a name, check them out informally, watch them teach others, approach them to see if they'd take you as a student, or b) have a friend/acquaintence/COTH person make the contact for you. Some instructors are really unnecessarily reluctant to take a rider with a disability because they're afraid they're going to do some sort of harm or the person will get hurt and they'll lose their farm. Others aren't... sometimes meeting the potential student face-to-face makes it harder to say no! I will say, be up front with your particular needs and abilities when you do approach an instructor. I heard a really sad story from a former TR student's mom about an instructor who was all set to teach her daughter until she found out the child had CP and then all of a sudden she refused, saying she didn't have the right insurance. The child's CP is so mild you wouldn't notice it during the school day until you watched the kids in gym class. They weren't looking for therapeutic riding, they were looking at an aged mare to lease for 4H Horseless Horse. I think the mom should have been more up front and I also think the trainer was a jerk - but I can see both sides (call the child "disabled" and you open one can of worms, let her riding speak for itself and don't disclose and you open another...)

                                    Good luck in your search for an instructor. New England should have lots of good options for dressage instruction and has some of NARHA's oldest and best programs for networking.

                                    Comment


                                    • #58
                                      NAHRA master instructor

                                      Sandy Webster is now with Giant Steps in Petaluma CA - WONDERFUL coach, able bodied and disabled, she's a master instructor with NAHRA and sits on the education board for them. Can't say enough about her skills, encouragement, patience, confidence, and horsemanship skills. I miss her like mad - she used to teach us in Ontario - but left to persue other venues in the USA.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #59
                                        Originally posted by betsyk View Post
                                        I wish I could remember people's names because it's been a while, BUT... back in the mid-90's I volunteered at some shows sponsored by ACORD, which was not specifically a NARHA group but its goal was to organize shows at a national level for riders with disabilities. Some were participants in therapeutic riding programs, others were more interested in paralympic-level competition. The idea, as I understood it, was to "up the ante" and provide a training ground, so to speak, for future paralympic riders. That was also the first year riders with disabilities were included in the NAYRC. Anyway, ACORD seems to have faded away over the years but there are still many individuals involved in therapeutic riding who either teach or compete at the higher levels or could be a resource for people who want to get involved. The names I do remember are Gail Pace and Lily Kellogg in Texas and Sandy Rafferty in MO. Pal-o-Mine on Long Island was also very involved in getting riders to national competitions. I suspect you could contact these people or programs and find out if they have personal/professional contacts in your area. I don't think people realize how many "bridges" there are between therapeutic riding and paralympic riding, especially in the parts of the country where there's a lot of serious dressage.

                                        Approaching it from a different angle -- have you approached your local GMO (dressage group) to network? is it possible to go to some of the bigger shows in your area to sit and watch coaches and riders and scope out styles you like? I'm thinking your best bet is likely to be either a) get a name, check them out informally, watch them teach others, approach them to see if they'd take you as a student, or b) have a friend/acquaintence/COTH person make the contact for you. Some instructors are really unnecessarily reluctant to take a rider with a disability because they're afraid they're going to do some sort of harm or the person will get hurt and they'll lose their farm. Others aren't... sometimes meeting the potential student face-to-face makes it harder to say no! I will say, be up front with your particular needs and abilities when you do approach an instructor. I heard a really sad story from a former TR student's mom about an instructor who was all set to teach her daughter until she found out the child had CP and then all of a sudden she refused, saying she didn't have the right insurance. The child's CP is so mild you wouldn't notice it during the school day until you watched the kids in gym class. They weren't looking for therapeutic riding, they were looking at an aged mare to lease for 4H Horseless Horse. I think the mom should have been more up front and I also think the trainer was a jerk - but I can see both sides (call the child "disabled" and you open one can of worms, let her riding speak for itself and don't disclose and you open another...)

                                        Good luck in your search for an instructor. New England should have lots of good options for dressage instruction and has some of NARHA's oldest and best programs for networking.

                                        Thank you so much. I am working on networking to find an instructor who meets my needs. I am actually planning on attending a clinic with Pintopiaffe next month. I am going to keep plugging away. I appreciate your input
                                        Beth

                                        Comment


                                        • #60
                                          This is a really timely conversation, as I've just started teaching a young woman with some MS-related issues. So here's another question - where should a professional interested in learning more about coaching disabled riders look? I've got several friends who ride with Missy and Jessica, and I've done a little coaching of riders with different physical issues, but I've never had any formal training in it.

                                          I want to be the best coach I can for this young lady, and for any others that might come my way, but not sure where to turn. Any pros out there have some thoughts? TIA!

                                          And good on all of you for keeping in the saddle!
                                          spriesersporthorse.com | farm on Facebook | me on Facebook | blog

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