The Therapeutic Riding Program at New Mexico State University creates a way for children and adults with disabilities to build independence and confidence through a unique riding experience. Its seasonal fundraiser, a Horse Carnival at the NMSU Equestrian Center, 750 Stewart St., will provide fun for all ages from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 5.
“For our fundraiser we will have pony rides, a paint-a-horse station, a station for feeding horses treats, a petting area, games, crafts, face painting and concessions,” Sarah Veeder, NMSU Therapeutic Riding Program manager said.
Demonstration rides with the therapeutic riding clients will exemplify why the program is so successful. The clients will show the audience how the horses are used by highlighting what they have learned.
The program will have at least six different horses for children to ride.
“It’s a great way to introduce anyone to horses,” Veeder said. “We have very well broke, quiet, even lazy horses that are very safe for someone’s first time riding.”
NMSU TRP is a place where community members with disabilities come out and work on goals set by parents or legal guardians through horseback riding. The goals can be physical, cognitive, developmental or emotional.
“We are open to riders ages 4 and older and any ability level,” Veeder said. “We have a mounting ramp for those who are walker- or wheelchair-bound.”
TRP has worked with riders with Down syndrome, autism, ADD/ADHD, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s and several other unique gene disorders.
Trainers have seen improvement with speech, balance by being able to sit up on their own, fluidity of walk, confidence, strength, use of legs and improved control, concentration and focus.
Lessons are taught by Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International certified instructors and are largely run by volunteers. The program has 90 volunteers and 38 clients.
Tickets to the Horse Carnival are $1 each or $20 for 25 tickets.
For more information on the NMSU Therapeutic Riding Program, visit trp.nmsu.edu.