Currently we have two programs that are not on horseback – Equicizer lessons and Horse Club. These programs are suitable for students who cannot safely ride, or as additional elements for students who already ride.
In the future we hope to offer a therapeutic driving program as well – ask us about it!
Horse Club is a fun social program featuring hands-on horse work like grooming and bathing, as well as learning about horses through books, videos and observation. It is ongoing, on Thursday afternoons from 4:00 to 5:00pm, and costs $25 per lesson, payable by session (8-11 weeks).
What is an Equicizer?
The Equicizer is an incredibly valuable therapeutic riding tool first developed in 1982 by jockey Frank Lovato Jr. who was injured in a racing accident, for his own rehabilitation. The wooden practice horse he later named the Equicizer, amazingly helped him regain his strength, flexibility and fitness. This idea was so well received by other jockeys that it inspired Frank to devote himself entirely in the development of the Equicizer and forming the Wooden Horse Corporation.
Originally designed for jockeys to aid in practice and development of their specialized skills, it didn’t take long to realize the potential the Equicizer and it’s little brother the Equipony had in benefiting other riding disciplines. It is used in therapeutic riding settings as well as traditional equitation, and offers a variety of benefits that can replace or complement mounted lessons.
At Project R.I.D.E. we have discovered that our custom-made Equicizer, which the students at Jessie Baker School named “Stella” after their original school secretary, is a wonderful way to introduce new or fearful students to our therapeutic riding program, and can even help develop advanced skills in independent riders. In fact, some of our riders have become so fond of “Stella” our Equicizer that they prefer riding her over the actual horses!
Best-Behaved Horse in the Barn!
Stella is beloved by our students because she is beautiful, approachable, smaller than an actual horse, easy to mount and dismount, and FUN to ride. Students who are nervous or fearful of actual horses can get used to the idea by riding Stella.
Who Uses Equicizers?
Equicizer fans range from intense professional Equine Athletes to those with severe disabilities, novices and those whom may have never ridden a horse in their lives. Even actor Tobey Maguire used an Equicizer when training for the movie Seabiscuit!
Those using the Equicizer and Equipony for therapeutic purposes include:
- Cerebral Palsy
- Down Syndrome
- Educational & Training
- Head Trauma
- Learning disabilities
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Spinal cord injury
- Stroke Recovery
Therapeutic and Educational
Many therapeutic recreational horseback riding programs are now incorporating this incredible tool into their programs. At R.I.D.E. we utilize Stella with new students, fragile students we cannot place into mounted lessons, students who exceed the weight limit of our horses, advanced riding students working on specific riding techniques like a posting trot, and sometimes the staff even rides Stella on their lunch break, for a great core workout that’s a lot of fun! Stella is quite sturdy – she can safely carry 500 pounds – but lightweight and portable, so we are able to change riding locations if needed.
Build Riding Muscles Without Risk
The Equicizer provides a very safe low impact exercise. Use any saddle or ride bareback, with or without stirrups, riders can use their hips, or “core” seat, and leg muscles to initiate the walk, trot or canter motion. This exercise works all those horse riding muscles in your legs, abdomen, back, everywhere! We usually use a bareback pad with no stirrups, to challenge the legs and the rider’s balance.
Now Scheduling Equicizer Lessons
In an Equicizer lesson at Project R.I.D.E., students are able to work on all of the same things that we would work on in a regular horseback riding lesson, but we are able to focus more on posture, muscle building, hand-eye coordination and independence. If the student needs extra support, our instructor can ride behind them to support their body, which we cannot do on horseback. Advanced students can work on trotting, keeping their horse at a certain speed and advanced riding techniques such as a posting trot.
If you’d like more information on Stella, please contact us right away.