As most of you know, we moved to our new home in May of last year with an extensive list of families waiting for their children to join our Equine-Assisted Therapeutic Riding Program. After re-launching the program in September and getting our current clients acclimated to the new property, our staff began focusing on expanding this program to accommodate more clients.
We have big goals for 2020, goals that our staff and horses have been preparing for over the
past few months. By December 31, Inspiration Ranch will grow the therapeutic riding program from the 46 to 125 clients. We believe it is our role to serve any special needs person who wants to take advantage of the growth, strength, and hope that results from therapeutic riding. And so, we are headed full speed toward growth.
In addition to maximizing the use of our horses and staff, and adding additional instructors, support staff, and horses, we will move toward this goal by a shift to a group lesson format. This format offers many advantages to our clients that individual lessons do not. Children participating in group activities improve their skills more quickly by watching their peers model skills and behaviors. Group lessons are structured strategically based on client ability and goals.
Group lessons allow more advanced clients to continue improving skills while learning to assist and support newer clients, hence developing social and communication skills. Meanwhile, less advanced clients are encouraged by seeing skills modeled by a peer they can identify with, lending bravery to attempt new exercises and therefore improving skills. These less advanced clients also learn to listen and communicate with peers, allowing them to develop social skills with children of similar age and ability and learn to process and follow directions from instructors.
Individual lessons will always be available to our clients who need them. But for children with diagnoses such as Autism and Downs Syndrome, where growth goals often involve better social engagement and eye contact, group lessons will offer bigger opportunities for growth.
After the first group lesson we hosted, one of our riders asked, “Can we do that again next week?”
We can’t wait to watch our clients thrive together as we move through 2020. In February, 8 new riders were added to the program, and in March two more joined us. Already, the therapeutic riding staff has identified 14 additional slots that can be filled, as well as the client personality, diagnoses, and goals that will best fit into each availability.
Stay tuned, you guys, 2020 is going to be a big year at Inspiration Ranch!