The children of Coyote Hill can participate in therapeutic horsemanship year-round, thanks to a generous donation from the Overton family which facilitated the completion of Overton Arena in 2011. There are two aspects to our Overton Arena Riding Program: the therapeutic riding program and the horsemanship program. Both programs heavily draw from concepts learned in Natural Lifemanship Training. Our staff are trained in Trauma Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Learning, using this Natural Lifemanship model.
Therapeutic Riding Program
This equine therapy program utilizes a therapist and an equine professional to teach the child about behavior, relationship, and life patterns that must be present. These patterns are addressed and worked through with the therapist. Relationship and behavior patterns that a child presents when partnering with a horse are often the same patterns a child presents when interacting with people. Many of these patterns were useful when a child was experiencing a traumatic event but are not productive in creating healthy relationships with safe individuals. By recognizing and changing these patterns with their safe, non-judgmental, and forgiving equine partners, the child has a chance to heal deep set trauma wounds while changing their current and future relationship patterns.
This program takes the relational skills learned in therapeutic riding and applies them to a relationship with the horse by teaching horsemanship. The children are taught groundwork skills, horsemanship codes of conduct, practical riding principles, and more. Everyone starts with the basics but depending on the ingenuity and interest of the child, they can progress to trail riding, driving a pony cart, relay games… the sky is the limit! The program goes at the pace of the child. They are never forced or pushed to advance through concepts or skills they may not understand. The horsemanship program simply lets children see what a healthy, respectful relationship with a horse can yield.