EQUINE PROGRAM

  • Equine Therapy

    Equine Therapy

  • Connection

    Connection

  • Daily Horse Care

    Daily Horse Care

  • Horsemanship Classes

    Horsemanship Classes

  • Ground Work

    Ground Work

  • Training

    Training

  • Horseback Riding

    Horseback Riding

  • Hunter/Jumper

    Hunter/Jumper

  • Competitions

    Competitions

  • Equine Therapy
    Equine Therapy
  • Connection
    Connection
  • Daily Horse Care
    Daily Horse Care
  • Horsemanship Classes
    Horsemanship Classes
  • Ground Work
    Ground Work
  • Training
    Training
  • Horseback Riding
    Horseback Riding
  • Hunter/Jumper
    Hunter/Jumper
  • Competitions
    Competitions

Equine Therapy:  Therapists and the Equine Director at Moonridge Academy are trained and as Equine Assisted Counselors in Natural Lifemanship which is a trauma focused equine assisted psychotherapy. Each student participates in equine therapy groups and in individual equine therapy sessions as determined by their Master Treatment Plan.  Students learn to build connections, trust and confidence with these incredibly intuitive animals.  Horses give a completely honest reflection of what's happening internally with a teen.  Therapists use the relationship between the student and the horse to gather immediate feedback on emotional stability, levels of confidence, trust and team-building.  Horses will often mirror a young teens' emotions.  Our students quickly recognize themselves in the horses and become very committed to not only helping the horse, but also working through their own challenges.

Horsemanship:  In addition to equine therapy, students also receive weekly horsemanship instruction under the direction of our Equine Director.  In this skill-based program, students start working with the horses in ground work which includes learning how to care for a horse, how to saddle a horse and other horsemanship basics.  Students then progress to training a horse on the ground before advancing to horseback riding instruction. Students learn the basics of horsemanship such as horse breeding, riding etiquette, genetics, and veterinary needs. Students are able to advance through the horsemanship program at a pace that is comfortable to them while demonstrating their competency in horsemanship skills.  When working with the horses, safety is never compromised and our students are never forced to do something against their will. When students advance to horseback riding, they are taught the English Hunter/Jumper style of horseback riding.  Our equine program includes the daily care of our horses.  All students participate in daily barn chores that include feeding/watering horses, grooming as needed, and cleaning the horse area.  

Family members share in the excitement of equine therapy as they too can participate in family equine sessions as determined by their therapist during visits to campus.  Parents need to know that our students are never allowed to ride unless declared medically fit to do so by a physician.  

There is an old saying that states, "The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man." Horses play an important role in the healing process at Moonridge Academy. Equine (horse) therapy has gained wide acceptance as a powerful way of teaching important life-lessons. Our students are likely to experience some of the following benefits: 

  • Develop Courage:  Some of our teens are initially afraid of horses. Riding such large animals is different from anything they have experienced before. As they learn to conquer their initial fear and discover how gentle and affectionate the horses really are, they also begin developing a new pattern of challenging old fears and finding from within the courage to improve.

  • Increased Self-Confidence and Direction: Horsemanship is a new skill for most of our students. They experience the increased confidence that comes from learning how to do something potentially frightening or different. While riding, they learn to be decisive and to provide clear directions to their horse, lessons which often have carryover application into the rest of their lives.

  • Improved Communication Skills:  Horses are keenly aware of the non-verbal cues of their riders. As our students become more aware of how their non-verbal communication affects the horse and how that horse reacts, they also grow more aware of the role that their non-verbal cues play with the important relationships in their lives.

  • Discipline and Positive Focus:  Students are involved in the day-to-day tasks of caring for a horse. Many students learn improved self-discipline through performing a task that the horse needs another to do and cannot do on its own. They often find that this process diverts their focus attention from the negative thought patterns of the past into a more positive, pro-active way of dealing with their problems.

  • Improved Ability to Trust: Our students learn you can develop a relationship and trust something that is bigger than themselves. This is especially important for victims of trauma.

  • Self-Acceptance:  The unconditional acceptance of friendship that an animal can give allows some of our students to accept themselves for who they are, and is often a positive first step in developing normal relationships. As our students feel accepted by a horse, they often come to terms with themselves in a way that allows them to accept themselves as well.

  • Respect for Others:  Horses only respond positively when the proper respect exists with the student. As our students learn both to earn and give that respect, life-lessons of earning and giving respect with family members and friends are an important byproduct.