Tuesday, March 28, 2017
What's New...
In the Tradition of Giving to the Ones We Love, February is the Month for
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Each year there are children with special needs waiting for the opportunity to improve their health and quality of life at Carousel Ranch.
We're growing to serve more children and
YOU can help us reach this goal.

Together, we can make a difference...
one very special child at a time.

 photo hearts_zpsfyahle5y.pngEvery gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $25,000 thanks to a very generous Carousel Ranch Supporter.
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Thank you for keeping our kids close to your heart this
Valentine's Day!
Upcoming Events...
Carousel Ranch
34289 Rocking Horse Road
Santa Clarita, CA 91390-3482
Benefits of Therapeutic Riding
Carousel Ranch is unique because we offer three types of equestrian therapy. Our program includes vaulting (gymnastics on a moving horse), English, and Western therapeutic riding. In general, therapeutic riding has been defined as horseback riding for the disabled. It combines instruction in traditional horsemanship skills with concepts of physical, occupational, recreational, and speech therapy to improve the strength, balance coordination and self-esteem of physically and mentally disabled children and adults.

At Carousel Ranch, we take therapeutic riding to another level with the use of vaulting, enabling even the most severely disabled children to participate and benefit from the exercises. All riders at Carousel Ranch begin their therapy with what is called "developmental vaulting".

Surprisingly, although developmental vaulting is highly effective, its use is not as widespread as therapeutic riding.

The exercises and positions found within the sport of vaulting directly follow the sequential development of a child. From sitting to crawling to stooping and finally to standing... these are all things that are done on the back of the horse... while moving! Children maneuver (with assistance) into a variety of positions - i.e., sitting sideways, backwards, up on hands and knees, half standing, standing, etc.

In all forms of equestrian therapy it is the movement of the horse that inherently challenges balance, utilizes muscles, and develops strength. The walking movement of the horse simulates a human's walking pattern, moving the pelvic area and surrounding muscles in the same way as if the person were walking themselves. Add to this exercises done in therapeutic vaulting and the results are magnified.

For our more advanced students, riding English or Western is often their choice. Carousel Ranch offers these children an opportunity to learn the actual sport of riding - controlling the reins and working to their highest potential. One of our students with cerebral palsy is even learning to jump... after eight years of vaulting and riding. She has even won ribbons competing in horse shows with non-disabled riders.

Each child's needs are assessed to help us create a therapy program for their specific need, goals, and benefits. The horse's movement causes an inherent response from the child, relaxing muscles that are tight, increasing tone in muscles that are weak - building balance, coordination, and control, which in turn enables children to use their hands and arms, and to sit, stand and even walk. But therapeutic riding at Carousel Ranch does so much more. Families see changes in behavior, attention span, self-esteem, confidence, and increased social interaction.

While we know that therapeutic riding is a potent form of physical therapy, the children see it as fun. These children, who are not invited to participate in soccer games or ballet performances, can, through equestrian therapy, be enabled not only to make extraordinary physical, cognitive, and emotional changes, but to participate and succeed in a real sport and take pride in performing for family and friends.

The diversity of programs offered at Carousel Ranch allows us to take a disabled rider through many developmental stages, constantly revising goals and strategies; always increasing the therapeutic benefits while allowing each child's strengths to carry them to new levels of skill and confidence.

These are just some of the Benefits of Therapeutic Riding:

Physical Benefits

• Improved coordination and better motor control
• Stretching of tight or spastic muscles
• Improved balance
• Decreased spasticity
• Increased range of motion

Social Benefits

• Age appropriate activity
• Increased experiences
• Social interaction on a 1:1 (or often 3:1 - three staff/volunteers with each student) level
• Increased self-esteem and confidence

Cognitive/Educational Benefits

• Sequencing, patterning, and motor planning
• Improved hand/eye coordination
• Improved visual/spatial perception
• Counting
• Colors
• Encouraged use and development of speech and/or communication

Behavioral Benefits

• Increased Attention Span
• Sensory Integration
• Behavior modification