Student Qualifications 

The Back Bay Therapeutic Riding Club addresses many different disabilities, both mental and physical, with each rider’s needs being approached on an individual basis. This is done by designing a therapeutic riding program that will best suit the rider and their personal needs and assist in achieving reasonable goals. Riders with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, Spina Bifida, Autism, Arthritis, Amputations, Cystic Fibrosis, hearing and/visual impairments, Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Scoliosis, head/neck trauma injuries, mental retardation and Arthrogryposis can all benefit from participation in a therapeutic riding program.

There are mental, social and physical benefits from therapeutic riding. It can afford an individual with disabilities the opportunity to participate in a sport “on an even playing field” with able bodied riders. The horse’s legs become their legs movement in no longer inhibited. When asked to describe what they liked best about riding, many disabled riders told of feelings of being “set free” and “feeling empowered.” Parents of riders report that their child shows improved self-esteem as well as a greater confidence in their everyday life. Programs also provide social interaction between fellow riders, instructors and assistants during the lessons themselves and also the games, music and fun that are a core part of the program. A common love of horses is often all it takes to break the ice and with sportsmanship, patience and gentle encouragement serving to aid each individual in achieving their "personal best."

If a rider has been working with a physical or occupational therapist upon enrollment for lessons, their therapists are invited to assist in the development of an effective program designed specifically for their patient. If the patient does not have a therapist at this time the Club may refer the rider to a physical therapist for evaluation prior to commencement of their lessons at their expense. Circumstances that may require such an evaluation may include, but is not limited to, riders with severe Scoliosis of 30 degrees or more, Spina Bifida, head/neck trauma involving C-1 through C-4, Down Syndrome and Arthrogryposis. Certain restrictions for acceptance are covered in our Contraindications for riding.