Contributed by Melissa Anthony, Development Coordinator, Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Center
Msision: Utilizing the unique and therapeutic attributes of the horse, the mission of Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Center is to serve those with diverse needs, empower change,foster resilience, and nurture whole health through sustainable and innovative programs.
Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Center (PPTRC), a 501(3)C nonprofit organization, is a community of individuals dedicated to providing equine assisted therapeutic services to those with a varied set of disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, amputation, paralysis, post traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, depression, and others. PPTRC offers services to children, seniors, service members and veterans in two locations: Latigo Trails Equestrian Center located just east of Colorado Springs, CO and PPTRC’s Dom Cimino Center at Norris Penrose located in Colorado Springs proper. The experiential equine assisted services provided are designed to meet the unique needs of each individual. With an understanding of the stigmas sometimes associated with disabilities, our team collaborates to provide a nurturing environment that is centered on client engagement and inclusion.
“I get on a horse and I’m back to having my freedom. When someone sees me on a horse they don’t see me as a disabled person, they see me as an equestrian.” PPTRC Client
Central to successful outcomes is the building of trusting relationships between the client, PPTRC specially trained and certified staff and the therapy horse. Therapies promote hope, healing, empowerment and improved self-sufficiency impacting clients both physically and emotionally. As an emerging treatment modality, Equine Assisted Activities and Therapy are increasingly recognized as a valuable and truly unique option for those who may not have experienced desired results in traditional therapies.
“PPTRC and their equine therapy program for military personnel are what finally helped me break the downward spiral of PTSD.” PPTRC client
Since 2000, Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Center has held the distinction of being the only Premier Accredited Center in the region with the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH). This voluntarily obtained designation ensures that PPTRC continually provides only the highest levels of quality and safety to each client served.
5 Reasons Why Equine Assisted Services Impact Lives:
1. The inclusion of the horse, along with evidence-based therapeutic theories and practices, helps remove the stigma surrounding traditional mental health therapy.
2. Horses reproduce the natural walking motion of a human being, and are able to reintegrate and resequence the neurological inputs to an individual lacking them.
3. Horses are intuitive and reflective of human behavior, and react to clients’ moods and feelings.
4. Working with a horse teaches self awareness, and promotes the idea of being focused and present in the moment.
5. Veterans find horses easily relatable because they operate on a fight-or-flight instinct, similar to those addressing PTSD.
Since its inception in 1981, PPTRC has continued to grow and evolve in response to the changing needs of the community. Through partnerships with medical professionals, hospitals and mental health facilities, PPTRC has answered the call to service. Initially a small organization offering assisted riding lessons that supported those with rehabilitative needs, PPTRC has expanded services provided to encompass many varied needs and address numerous physical and mental health challenges. PPTRC remains committed to serving those in need and continues to foster a culture of innovation as an industry leader.
Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Center Programs:
Derived from the Greek “hippo”, this therapy encompasses physical, occupational, or speech therapy that is part of an integrated treatment plan to achieved targeted outcomes. Led by a specially trained and licensed physical, speech or occupational therapist, this therapy utilizes the three-dimensional movement of the horse to influence the rider physically and neurologically. Hippotherapy increases core strength, muscle memory, flexibility, balance, independence, cognitive abilities and more.
This is an adaptive horseback riding lesson taught by a certified therapeutic riding instructor to increase the cognitive, physical and emotional well-being of the rider. Riders learn to influence the actions of the horse in a manner that addresses physical, emotional and cognitive needs. Activities performed from horseback are included to both engage the client and address needs.
Equine Assisted Therapy
This mental health therapy allows participants to learn to honestly assess their own emotions and behaviors to improve interactions with the horse. Through this engagement, the client learns social and relationship skills. Licensed mental health therapists help clients translate the skills learned working with therapy horses into everyday life and interactions.
As a member of the R4 Alliance, PPTRC proudly works to maximize the potential of our military families by addressing the physical and invisible emotional scars our veterans bear, as well as the various needs of military families. Countless breakthroughs have occurred as a result of the remarkable relationships that have developed between clients and therapy horses.
Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Center (PPTRC) is offering an Equine Assisted Therapy (EAT) group for those with TRICARE coverage at our Dom Cimino Center at Norris Penrose Event Center. In EAT, we work with horses and use groundwork and horsemanship activities specifically to increase self-awareness and re-pattern any maladaptive behaviors, feelings and attitudes. In relationships and families, this allows for clearer communication, a strengthening of bonds, and overall resilience through life’s ups and downs. Registration is required and space is limited- please contact Chester DeAngelis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-495-3908 for more details.
For more information about Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Center, services provided, or to volunteer, visit our website at: PPTRC.org