Special Needs, Special Horses: A Guide to the Benefits of Therapeutic Riding

By Naomi Scott | Go to book overview

Chapter Five

Owners, Community, and Volunteers

Instructors and therapists conduct the actual sessions but facilities, and a lot of support, are also necessary.

A good example of a NARHA center is Rocky Top Therapy Center, established in 1990 by Doug and Vivian Newton, at their Rocky Top Ranch, Keller, Texas. The center has achieved NARHA premier accredited status, and has grown to annually serve two hundred physically, mentally, or emotionally challenged individuals.

[We struggled to get started,] Doug recalls. [Therapeutic riding was not widely known, to the disabled, or to the community at large, and there were few instructors in the country. We were busy getting educated on the process, giving speeches to anyone who would listen, raising the necessary dollars to make our programs possible, and improving our facilities to accommodate those with special needs. Now we are finding that keeping up with growth is an even greater challenge. Because of our successes, demands for expansion are ever increasing.]

The Newtons manage and maintain Rocky Top, a working horse ranch that provides breeding, boarding, and training services, plus riding lessons to the able-bodied. A playground, barnyard, and picnic facilities on a tree-shaded hill, together with pony rides and hay rides, make the ranch a favorite for parties and field trips.1

Creation of a recent addition, an innovative walkway, illustrates the wonderful, typical community spirit, which helps sustain NARHA cen-

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