About Cedar Creek

Cedar Creek is a non-profit agency that has served 
the Mid-Missouri area since 1988. Led by Founder and Executive Director Karen Grindler, the center provides therapy to more than 200 riders per year in 8-week Spring, Summer and Fall sessions. Cedar Creek requires many volunteers to assist with the therapy and make riding safe and fun for the people who come each week.  Cedar Creek is accredited by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship organization, the umbrella organization for all Equine Therapy.


What is Therapeutic Horseback Riding?

The physical benefits of riding are based primarily on the movements of the horse. At the walk, the horse’s rhythmical gait transfers to the rider the pelvic movements of a normal walking man or woman: back and forth, up and down, side to side, and rotational. This repetitive motion helps to improve balance, coordination, strength, and muscle tone as it gently mobilizes the joints.

Cognitive impairments are addressed through instruction in horsemanship skills and stable management. Riders have a chance to socialize more easily with others and experience human-to-animal bonding. Riding is recognized as not only an enjoyable sport, but also as a means of improving self-esteem and motivation as participants gain a greater sense of freedom and independence. Riders are encouraged to participate in horse shows and other events, increasing self confidence and integration in the community. There are four distinct areas of emphasis in horseback riding for the physically and mentally challenged.

Motion Therapy is a form of riding in which the horse is used as a therapeutic modality to directly affect the body while the rider sits on the horse’s back in a variety of positions. Certified therapeutic riding instructors provide actions and exercises that enhance stability, balance, and coordination.

In Sport Therapy each student learns basic horsemanship skills and emphasis is placed on developing and refining physical and cognitive abilities needed to independently control the horse in a variety of situations. Goal setting is done with a therapist. Classes are taught by a certified instructor.

Mainstreamed Recreational Riding provides opportunities for improved social interaction and exploration of the environment with some skill-building to enhance general health and well-being. These clients will have the opportunity to compete in local shows and events.

In general, all forms of riding facilitate sensory integration, coordination, balance, communication and active participation within and upon the environment. Any activity that is purposeful and fun will more effective than one that is boring, tedious, or meaningless. The many different aspects of equine facilitated therapy: riding, grooming, tack maintenance, stable management, recreational games played on horseback, all encourage effort and develop a positive attitude and sense of well-being and accomplishment.

Additional Information about Therapeutic Horseback Riding

Visit the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) site to learn more about Therapeutic Horseback Riding