Does TLC Riding Academy, Inc. only accept riders with disabilities?
Yes. We strive to follow our mission statement which is as follows: TLC Riding Academy, Inc. will provide persons with disabilities the opportunity to use horseback riding and other related equine activities as experiences where they can grow and develop physically, emotionally, cognitively, socially, educationally, and/or behaviorally, thus enhancing their quality of life.
What disabilities typically benefit from therapeutic riding? The following disabilities commonly participate and benefit from therapeutic riding: Muscular Dystrophy, Cerebral Palsy, Visual Impairment, Down Syndrome, Intellectual Disability, Autism, Multiple Sclerosis, Spina Bifida, Emotional Disabilities, Brain Injuries, Spinal Cord Injuries, Amputations, Learning Disabilities, Attention Deficit Disorder, Deafness, and Stroke.
Is all riding done outside? The majority of the riding is done inside within a 60′ x 104′ covered arena. The arena has “windows” which are closed in the winter to ward off cold winds, but open in the summer to permit cooling breezes. Also, riders are able to ride outside in contained pastures.
Are lessons available year round? Basically yes, however at times it may be too cold, too hot, or too stormy. When the temperature gets extremely hot, we will cancel lessons for the health of our horses and rider/volunteers. Also if the weather is too cold where the instructor feels that the riders or volunteers cannot be comfortable, the instructor will call or text to cancel the lesson. When there is hazardous weather (tornado watches or severe thunderstorm watches), the instructor will call or text to cancel the lesson. If you are unsure about the status of a lesson, please call the center at 731-559-4184.
Do you have trained instructors? All lessons are given by a PATH Intl. (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International) Registered Instructor. We currently have 2 Registered Instructors, but are working towards getting 1 more person certified.
Are licensed therapists providing therapy during the lesson? No, we do not currently provide hippotherapy. In hippotherapy, a Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist, or Speech-Language Pathologist specially trained in hippotherapy may direct the lesson (although a certified PATH Intl. riding instructor should also be present to assist). The therapist puts the rider in various positions on the horse so that the rider can benefit more fully from the motion of the horse. We provide therapeutic riding. In therapeutic riding, we try to teach the student how to ride a horse. In therapeutic riding for a center following PATH Intl. standards, all lessons should be given by a certified PATH Intl, instructor. A therapist is not required to be present for a therapeutic riding session, although consultations with therapists or other medically trained personnel are encouraged whenever needed.
What is the fee for a lesson? We have a fee of $15 for each hour lesson, HOWEVER we will never turn away any qualified participant because of inability to pay. Since we are a nonprofit organization, we rely on the donations of civic clubs, individuals, and corporations to supplement our fees so that we can run a viable program.
Are donations tax deductible? Yes, we are recognized by IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization so donations are considered tax deductible.
I have a 25 year old stallion that is slightly lame, but can still walk. Would my horse be a good donation for your program? No, first of all, we would not take a stallion even if he were extremely gentle. Also, we need horses that are sound. If the horse is lame, its gait would be influenced so riders will not benefit as they would on a sound horse. Also, we want horses who have lots of years left in them, thus we would rather not take a horse over 15 years of age. Having said this, we appreciate all offers of horses, and each horse would be evaluated on an individual basis. We do have to be pretty choosy since it takes a special animal to serve adequately as a therapy horse.
Can anyone with a disability be accepted into the program? No, it is not safe for everyone to ride. We do have a weight limit and a minimum age limit. Also, we check in the PATH Intl. Standards Manual to see if there are particular precautions or contraindications for each applicant’s diagnosis. If applicants exhibit something which is listed as a precaution, then further investigation is needed to see if they can safely ride. If applicants exhibit something which is listed as a contraindication, then it is not safe for them to ride. Not all contraindications are clear cut, or permanent, so we review this manual plus we can activate a medical committee to give us further assistance, if needed, in making a decision to accept or reject applicants. Sometimes applicants may be rejected for riding, but they might be accepted for another activity such as ground work. Also, applicants may be initially rejected for riding, but later they may be accepted because their situation has changed.
Are there any clothing requirements? Riders are required to wear a helmet which is ASTM-SEI certified for equestrian use. (We do provide helmets for riders without one.) They should wear hard-soled shoes (or boots) with a heel, otherwise they are required to utilize safety stirrups when riding. Riders cannot ride in flip flops or open toed shoes or sandals or crocs. It is recommended that riders wear long pants so their legs are not irritated.
When are lessons held? Currently lessons could be held on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.