New equine-assisted therapy program links horses, well-being

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, October 23, 2018

A new class at Isothermal Community College will introduce students to the benefits horses have on humans, with a focus on therapeutic activities that can aid individuals with physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities.

The class is called Introduction to Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapies. It will start in Nov. 1, and will be offered as a continuing education class by a partnership that Isothermal is forming with TROT (Therapeutic Riding of Tryon). 

This new course introduces a variety of equine-assisted activities and therapies used to benefit those with disabilities. The class will provide an overview of activities and therapies, such as therapeutic horseback riding, hippotherapy, therapeutic driving and equine-facilitated therapies. 

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The history of equine-assisted therapy; an overview of common physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities; careers with equine assisted activities; and information on therapeutic riding instructor certification will also be presented. 

The class will combine lecture with hands-on experience at a barn facility.  Students will receive volunteer training by assisting in a therapeutic horsemanship class.

“All of us at FENCE and Therapeutic Riding of Tryon are very excited that Isothermal is offering this course to people who may be interested in careers in therapeutic horsemanship,” said Alison Rhyne, the instructor for the course who serves as program director at TROT. “We are proud to partner with ICC in the effort to promote employment in the equine industry and most specifically, in the horse/human relationship to human health.”

The dates and times for the classes are from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursdays, Nov. 1 through Dec. 6. A lab and barn session will be held from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1.

Those interested in signing up may call 898-894-3092.

Submitted by Mike Gavin