Helen Woodward Animal Center (HWAC) will present the “Game On” Riding Show today, October 5th, beginning at 9:00 a.m. and running through 2:00 p.m. The Show will offer this “Mane” Attraction to the public; one that will not easily be forgotten. The event takes place at the HWAC’s Riding Arena which is located in the southwest corner of the Center grounds; 6461 El Apajo Road in Rancho Santa Fe, California.
The Riding Show will be a monumental one for the children and adult students of Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Therapeutic Riding Program. The 2013 Therapeutic Riding Show titled “GAME ON” will give these riders the opportunity to show off their newly-developed equine skills to friends and family. They will display that each and every one of them are winners. There’s nothing like watching hundreds of pounds of animal nurture healing and growth in a person, it’s truly amazing.
Therapeutic Riding Manager and Instructor Alicia Roe selected the “Game On” theme for the 2013 show and award ceremony because of the many games the program incorporates to keep learning fun for her clients. They will play games like “Bean Bag Toss,” “Horse Soccer,” and “Horse Bowling”! The moving and inspirational event is often the very first time the students have ever been recognized for their amazing accomplishments and it is truly a memorable experience for the riders and those who get to cheer them on.
The games help the students learn riding skills such as steering, stopping, and going. Although they may seem like simple tasks, the basic riding skills incorporate all parts of the body (hands, legs, and eyes) and also aid in developing core strength and balance from sitting upright during riding and controlling one’s horse. A student’s self-confidence increases as they ride and as they accomplish many skills they may not have thought they could achieve.
In addition to the basic technical achievements, there’s another equally important element to the show. “The Annual Horse Show is really meaningful to our clients because they get to be in the spotlight,” stated Roe. “They work hard every week for themselves and this is the one day they get an opportunity to show off to their friends and family.”
The Therapeutic Riding Show will conclude with a special ceremony in which Program Manager Alicia Roe will present each student with a surprise award tailored to the “GAME ON” theme. The excitement and the many smiles seen that day will be a moving reminder of what a truly “good game” has been played and how epic a team can be when you combine the love and determination of a student and their therapeutic riding horse.
Helen Woodward believes that “people help animals and animals help people.” Therefore they have created beneficial arrangements such as the Therapeutic Riding Program that is quite beneficial to those individual, young and older that have a variety of special needs from cerebral palsy, Down's syndrome and autism to stroke recovery and learning disabilities. Students ride specially-trained horses with certified instructors in weekly sessions to develop increased balance and muscle control, improve concentration and short-term memory, and enhance their confidence and self-esteem. Therapeutic riding can benefit individuals with a wide range of challenges, be it cognitive, physical, emotional, social, or a combination thereof.
For more information on the Therapeutic Riding Program, go to www.animalcenter.org, contact Therapeutic Riding Manager Alicia Roe at (858) 756-4117 x321 or stop by Helen Woodward Animal Center at 6461 El Apajo Road in Rancho Santa Fe.