What the heck is "hippotherapy" anyway? Surely hippos neither need nor provide therapy?!
Hippotherapy is just a fancy name for "horse therapy," or therapeutic riding programs such as that provided by Cloud Dancers of the Southwest, in Albuquerque, New Mexico for those with disabilities. Cloud Dancers is a non-profit organization that has provided therapeutic riding programs for deaf, developmentally delayed, and autistic participants, as well as those with various other disabilities for many years.
Therapeutic riding imporves participants' coordination, upper-arm strength, and, especially, confidence, and they learn not only to ride, but also to care for the horses.
Cloud Dancers is an Affiliate Center Member of the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA) which employs certified riding instructors who focus on riders abilities and needs.
Cloud Dancers relies solely on volunteers, with two or three volunteers usually accompanying each participant as they ride. The program has grown tremendously since the days some ten years ago when my oldest daughter was among the volunteers. This session, the volunteers are 63-strong, and all not only love being around horses, but especially enjoy the watching the beaming faces of the young participants as they thrill to working with "their" horses during their lessons. And it is such a great way for horse enthusiasts to give back to the community!
Cloud Dancers of the Southwest is located at 608 Bledsoe Rd. NW in Albuquerque, and is always interested in new volunteers. In addition to volunteering, the organization is always on the lookout for suitable horses which can be donated or loaned to the program. Horses need to be sound and "bomb-proof."
For more information, or to volunteer, contact June Storey at 505-507-7126.
For more information about horses, equestrian resources, or horse properties in Albuquerque, contact me any time!