For riders (minimum age 4) sessions include both ground and riding interaction with a horse. Lessons are led by PATH(Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) Intl. Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructors. Ground time includes grooming, leading, and getting to know the horse. During riding, the client participates in a wide variety of activities and maneuvers based on their personal riding ability. Riding lessons may be in our new covered arena, on our Sensory Trail to help with sensory challenges, or on our Nature Trail to provide a different riding experience.
Riders will learn all aspects of riding, including bringing their horse in from pasture, grooming in preparation for saddling, tacking up, and of course, riding skills. With instruction from our professional team, riders will build their skills and continue to learn from their partnership with the horse.
For our special needs riders, we create activities to engage them in their riding therapy. From playing games on horseback to learning life skills, our team creates interactive opportunities for the rider to learn more as they work on their riding skills. Beneficial to most with Physical Disabilities, Learning & Emotional Disabilities, Sensory Integration Dysfunction, Autism, Downs Syndrome, and Hearing & Visual Impairments.
For many clients, riding becomes their sport. Each year, we hold a Ranch Riders Horse Show giving riders an opportunity to showcase their horsemanship and riding skills for their family, friends, and the community. We are also building a program to participate in the Special Olympics Equestrian Competition and other riding shows as appropriate for our riders.
Therapeutic Horsemanship groups include up to 6 participants for equine growth and learning. The first session begins with a visit to each horse pasture. As participants observe the herd and herd dynamics, they learn how horses communicate with each other, the hierarchy of the herd, and how the herd resembles our family/work dynamics. Each group member will choose a horse from our very diverse herd. Over several weeks, participants will be guided by a Counselor and Equine Specialist as they develop a relationship with their horse and with the other group members. First Responders enjoy the peer support offered in a group setting. Through a wide variety of ground activities, participants will learn how to communicate effectively with their horse, learn how to regulate their emotions and be authentic, experience different horsemanship techniques, and discover a little about their own personalities.
"Our family enrolled for therapeutic horseback riding as a regular family event this summer. After the first lesson, [Jayna] went from hanging on for dear life to perfect posture and giving commands to the horse. As we end our summer with a few more lessons, you must know how this has changed Jayna's life. She is walking better, sitting up better, learning to use her voice, and not be shy. She is learning what it means to "let go" and have fun. Thank you. This has been a huge answer to our prayers!" - Katherine, a Therapeutic Horseback Riding parent
"Paws for Reflection has done so much for Torin's confidence, ability to follow directions, and learn. He also has improved communication, sleep, and is trying to socialize and interact with peers more. We are so fortunate to have been a part of such a magical and wonderful community of people and animals. Cassandra, Tandy, and the crew of awesome volunteers have worked tirelessly to continuously meet his changing, complex needs while adapting to challenge him, and to watch his growth has been nothing short of inspiring!
We are humbled and so thankful for all of the work that everyone puts in daily to make such amazing things happen. For a few months before starting riding at the Ranch last spring, I was feeling very "stuck" and I think he was also. Torin had plateaued in school as well as his traditional therapies, and just didn't have that joyful spark to his eyes anymore. Life began to feel like an endless round of doctors and therapies. I am so grateful for the time Torin spends at the Ranch, because it changed those feelings, and opened him up to more opportunities. It is an incredibly healing and relaxing experience just to be able to come out for this stressed Mama as well. Torin is always happy to press his "time to go riding" button on his Ipad and come see his Ranch family!
He was so proud of himself after the Ranch Riders Show! We were so grateful for everyone's hard work and kindness. He never could have done that well a couple of years ago. He has matured so much, and received the Most Improved award today in his class awards. His teacher also told the class he wants to be a horse jockey when he grows up, lol. Everyone knows he rides at the Ranch, and they all adore it as well from our special field trips.
We are so happy to be a part of the Paws family, and to have been so welcomed over the past year. We are incredibly grateful for any help we receive. The Ranch is truly a magical place full of Angels, both two and four legged varieties." Carissa M., a Therapeutic Horseback Riding Parent
"While in college, I worked with people utilizing Therapeutic Riding. When I found that my son had some emotional challenges, therapeutic riding was a great way to bridge his love for animals learning responsibility while having fun and maintaining "control". Everyone at PFR has been absolutely wonderful and my little boy is so passionate about his time there. I can't thank them enough for the support they've given!!!!" Karen, a Therapeutic Horseback Riding parent
"We have been coming to Paws for Reflection Ranch for therapeutic riding lessons since about 2013, and we can’t say enough good things about the place. The riding instructors have always taken great care with my daughter and our family. Since my daughter is severely autistic and mostly non-verbal we have a lot of different needs, but they’ve worked hard to accommodate her and to help her gain more confidence and strength. I love seeing her riding the horses and trying to use words to give the horses directions. We’ve also enjoyed the special activities out on the ranch and the variety of animals they keep. Where else in town can you be greeted by a donkey and escorted into the barn by a pig? In addition, I feel like the people at Paws take care of me. Being the mom of a child with special needs comes with a special kind of stress, and for me, getting to talk to the horses and even help groom them is often just what I need. They’ve made us feel like family and for that we are truly grateful. " Jennifer, a Therapeutic Horseback Riding parent
"2018 has been the hardest year of my life as a parent. Paws for Reflection Ranch and the counseling I received there has lifted that burden in an immense way.
I will never forget one Saturday leaning on the biggest horse ever, and crying out all the tears I could cry. The horse never moved, he actually lowered his head down on my shoulder as if to say, "Sharon, it's ok to let it out, I'm not walking away." - that's what I needed that day.
Other Saturdays, I learned skills that have helped me not hold on so tightly to my children; I can read about it in books, but seeing the reality of the horses respond- well that put like a horse hoof impression in my mind that has calmed me down as a mom. I am forever grateful for my equestrian therapy. " Sharon, a Therapeutic Horsemanship Client
"Just wanted to write and say Thank you for allowing us to be a part of Paws for Reflection Ranch. Our twin boys, Matthew and Seth, would not have been able to come as far as they've come without the therapy they received attending the ranch.
When the boys first started, one was pretty much non-verbal, lacked making eye contact, and did quite a bit of hand flapping. Soon after beginning therapy at Paws, he realized his love for horses and confidence in himself. He began to verbalize a lot more and his hand flapping decreased. His connection to both the instructor and the horse became one of a kind and shortly after, Matthew began to make more eye contact and verbalize his needs, wants, and even what he didn't want. Today he finds himself in his 4th semester of Piano, something we tried to put him in years ago but could not focus, talk, or stop stimming long enough to play something that comes naturally for him.
Seth, his twin brother, also received therapy at the Ranch. Seth began with severe sensory issues along with Aspergers and ADHD. Textures, noises, smells, tastes, and fear of the unknown, as well as, defiant and oppositional behavior were a huge issue. Like Matthew, he too found his love for horses and looked forward to all of his therapy days. With the amazing help of Equestrian Therapist (PATH Intl. Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor) Kylie Heath, Seth learned self-confidence, courage, to focus and listen, and most importantly, control. Today, Seth finds himself in Tae Kwon Do. He has received his 3rd belt and is able to control his impulsiveness. He can now handle being in a room with more than four people, and is doing much much better handling the unknown.
Both my husband and I truly believe that Equestrian Therapy, Play Therapy, and Music Therapy at Paws for Reflection Ranch helped the boys overcome many obstacles, gave them the security and confidence in themselves to try new things, allowed them to learn some independence (something very difficult to teach as a Mother of Twin Autistic Boys), and it even helped my husband and I in a way you do not even know.
We saw what our boys are capable of learning, what they can do at such a young age, and it gives us a peace of mind of what is to come in their life.
Thank you! Without your generous help, with the therapists and the Horses...we would definitely not be where we are today." Daniel and Blanca S.
"Our daughter's disabilities had led her to be extremely self-conscious and withdrawn in most public situations as she grew into a young lady. Her cerebral palsy and learning delays were not observable or severe; however, she would become frustrated due to her misunderstanding and comprehension of certain life situations. She was hesitant to participate in unknown activities and take any risks. Once she became involved at Paws for Reflection Ranch, we began to see a whole new young lady appear before our eyes.
We found Paws for Reflection by chance on a search engine while surfing the internet. It happened to be close to our home, so she started at Horse Camp the very next week!! Our experiences have not been short of amazing, she has been involved in Therapeutic Riding lessons, Girls Animal Lovers Society, camps, holiday events at the ranch, and literally everything we can make it to. Her increased confidence level has led her to participate in new school activities and try new experiences at home. She is involved in theater and choir, she will initiate conversations with new acquaintances and now she cultivates her friendships more fully. With her new confidence, she even attended her Junior Prom and danced!
We are very appreciative of this wonderful place; the staff has assisted her in growing, thinking, and maturing. Her confidence has blossomed and emotionally she is developing beautifully. Paws for Reflection Ranch has given her this ability and chance." Brad and Amy P.
2018 Ranch Riders Horse Show
"There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man." Winston Churchill
Left to right: Instructors Katelyn and Liana, Co-founders Melode and Stan, and Instructor Cassandra look forward to meeting you and working with you in our Therapeutic Horseback Riding Program!
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Paws for Reflection Ranch is an IRS approved 501(c)(3) charitable organization
USDA Licensed Class C Exhibitor under the Animal Welfare Act