Courage Reins: Therapeutic Riding

Someone once said, “People say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, but the truth is, you knew exactly what you had, you just never thought you’d lose it.” We take things for granted every day. Normal everyday things that we have always had and never imagine losing, such as walking and talking. But, imagine for a moment that you can’t walk. You can’t get up and make your legs go where you want to go. Or maybe you can’t focus on one thing for thirty seconds, no matter how hard you try. How would you feel, not being in control of your body? For some people, this is a reality.

 One day in 1998, a man named Sterling Gardner heard about a therapeutic horse ranch for people with disabilities. He was curious and decided to see what it was all about. While volunteering there, he was leading a horse for a young disabled boy. As Sterling led the horse for the boy, the two began to talk. When the session ended, the little boy looked down from his horse at Sterling and exclaimed, “On a horse, I’m not crippled anymore.” Sterling left the ranch with tears in his eyes. Now, 18 years later, thanks to the hard work and dedication of many, Utah has Courage Reins Therapeutic Riding.

 The mission of Courage Reins is to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities. They offer individualized and specialized treatment for people with any type of mental or physical disability, and for those who just want to better themselves with the help of a loving and gentle horse. They offer four different types of therapy: riding, hippotherapy, mental health, and natural horsemanship. Each type of therapy helps riders improve their strength and balance, as well as increase their self-confidence and self-assurance.

 Courage Reins, located in Highland, Utah, serves between 120-140 clients a week with the help of 12 staff members, 16 horses, and over 100 volunteers. Horses with a kind and loving demeanor and special talent to serve are donated to the riding center. Volunteers and horses are carefully chosen and well trained, because they have to work as hard as they can in rain, sun, and snow to put a smile on the face of someone they just met.

 When a client arrives at Courage Reins, they are welcomed by a customized team


that will stick with them through their journey to something better. Together, they make a plan based on the client’s individual needs and develop goals to be met at each session.

 “We want people to leave here with something better than how they came,” says Vicki Armstrong, Director of Courage Reins. “We want to make their life better than it was.”

 What makes Courage Reins different than any other facility is their dedication to the client’s emotional and physical well-being. Their program is based on…(read the rest of the story)

Originally published on Utah Valley Health and Wellness

Written by: Tori Crane

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