The Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center

The Fieldstone Farm 
Therapeutic Riding Center

Last week I had the distinct pleasure of being shown the Fieldstone Farm, one of our region's most incredible agencies for help and change.   My extraordinary tour was led by the President of the Board and longtime friend, Mr. Tom Rathbone, and the inspired Executive Director, Ms. Lynnette Stuart.

The Fieldstone Farm was created 35 years ago, and offers a unique form of help to those in need- the relationship of people and horses.  This relationship is old enough that we can say with confidence that we as humans evolved together with horses so that we are both who we are in some measure in relation to each other.

With that in mind, riding a horse, being with a horse, being connected to a horse, offers benefits to any person.

And it is for that reason that riding a horse can help people with a wide range of troubles and challenges, in particular those of us with issues in these categories:
  • Physical disabilities
  • Cognitive disabilities
  • Psychosocial disabilities
In each instance, the unique dimension of connection between horse and rider changes the life of the rider, often changing their experience of their challenge, opening up new directions for growth, change, and recovery.

Consider the fact that if you tape a video of a rider while simply sitting on a horse while the horse walks, the rider's spine and limbs fully and automatically replicate the normal motions of walking.  This opens the world of walking to a child or adult with problems that might keep them from experiencing the sensation of walking.  These would include conditions such as severe cerebral palsy, progressive deteriorating conditions such as ALS.

Or, consider the power of the horse, a large animal connecting with the rider, on the rider's own moods and perceptions of self.  The Fieldstone Farm experience has helped large numbers of our community help advance social skills, increase confidence, stabilize moods, relate to other people more effectively.

The Fieldstone Farm has taken the impact of the horse and rider relationship to the world of academics and runs a great high school, Gaitway, that is very successful in finding motivation in students who seem to have lost it all.

The program also has a very vibrant volunteer program that involves formal training and certification.  In 2011, 650 people volunteered over 22,000 hours of time, learning a lot about horses, and people.

This remarkable program has been a great help to many families in our practice over the years, and so I thought it would be helpful for you to hear about the great work being done there.

If you are interested, check out their fascinating website:  www.fieldstonefarmtrc.com

Dr. Arthur Lavin

*Disclaimer* The comments contained in this electronic source of information do not constitute and are not designed to imply that they constitute any form of individual medical advice. The information provided is purely for informational purposes only and not relevant to any person's particular medical condition or situation. If you have any medical concerns about yourself or your family please contact your physician immediately. In order to provide our patients the best uninfluenced information that science has to offer,we do not accept samples of drugs, advertising tchotchkes, money, food, or any item from outside vendors.
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