Riding Unlimited was founded in 1990 at a leased facility, with six borrowed horses, 70 volunteers, three instructors and 24 riders. In 1997, we purchased our current location, a 49 acre ranch in Ponder, Texas to expand our outreach to the community.
Riding Unlimited is a Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, Int’l (PATH) (formerly NARHA) Premier Accredited Center. Riding Unlimited participants range in age from 4 (due to bone development) to senior adults.
According to Dr. Steven P. Sparagana, M.D. Pediatric Neurologist, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, “Therapeutic horsemanship is a phenomenal treatment modality for our patients with neurological, developmental, and mental health disorders. The children benefit tremendously from the physical aspects of horseback riding, and also from the horse-rider interactions (for example preparing the horse for riding, feeding the horse, and otherwise caring for the horse before and after the ride). The kids develop a special love for the horse, which is in itself therapeutic. I heartily endorse therapeutic horsemanship for our kids.”
Our programs include:
• Therapeutic riding and driving instruction in small groups or private lessons.
• Participation in Special Olympics Equestrian Competition, Chisholm Challenge for Special Riders Horse Show and other shows.
• Support for community therapy groups, Denton Juvenile Probation and local Independent School Districts.
Rider disabilities include: Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, Attention Deficit Disorder, Intellectual Disability, Down Syndrome, Autism, Developmental Disability, Visual & Hearing Impaired, Brain Injury and Paraplegia, with many of our clients having more than one diagnosis.
Through exercises such as relay races, obstacle courses and ring toss, riders learn right-left discrimination, sequencing, language development and cooperation while enjoying a pleasurable experience that increases self-esteem, concentration and confidence.
Helen Thomson once said that “in riding a horse we borrow freedom”. Every week our students borrow freedom from their walkers and their wheelchairs. The horse gives them legs. The horse gives them a 3-dimensional movement that mimics human walking gait – movement that is difficult to duplicate in a clinical setting. The benefits for the student include improvement in muscle strength, mobility, body control and balance. Riders also experience improved respiration, circulation and digestion.
For individuals with disabilities, equine-assisted activities have been shown to improve muscle tone, balance, posture, coordination, motor development as well as emotional well-being. Therapeutic carriage driving is unique in that it offers people who cannot ride the opportunity to participate in an equine activity. Driving a horse also utilizes to a greater degree eye/hand coordination and spatial awareness. You should see the excitement in our student’s faces as they look beyond their disabilities and see their possibilities!