Therapeutic horseback riding benefits almost any disabling condition including: cerebral palsy, autism, down syndrome, head injuries, hearing impaired, visually impaired, multiple sclerosis, seizure disorders, speech & learning disabilities, and sensory integration dysfunction. The physical, mental, and emotional benefits of therapeutic horsemanship are many. The rhythmic motion and warmth of the horse stimulates and exercises the rider’s muscles increasing mobility the pelvis, hip, and spine. The rider experiences weight shift and trunk mobility as if he were walking on his own.
As the horse and rider progresses through their different gaits, the rider experiences a wide range of sensory input. At a walk, the rider benefits from the calming effort of the rhythmic, three-dimensional movement. As the horse moves to a trot, the rider’s alertness is increased, his posture aligned, and he becomes more aware of his own body. Riders respond to this movement. During the lesson, activities and exercises take place to encourage speech, identify objects, and sequence multiple tasks. Students also participate in games and socialize with other students.
REINS serves around 180 riders, with the assistance of over 100 volunteers each week. Serving our riders can be mentally and physically stressful for our equine therapists. Consequently, it is essential that our horses have a solid work ethic, enjoy people and are healthy and sound. A great therapy horse is sound at the walk, trot and canter, with three rhythmic and balanced gaits. The quality of the horse’s movement is what most benefits the participant. Other qualities we require include varied life experience, a quiet personality and at least eight years of age. Our riders have a very wide range of special needs, and our herd must be varied to meet those needs; therefore, the specific qualities we are seeking in a horse can change depending upon the current needs of our program.
The questions below can serve as a good place to start evaluating your horse for possible donation. Please answer each the questions below truthfully. If you have more true than false your horse might have the “Right Stuff” to have a second career as a therapy horse. Contact Kaitlyn at 760-731-9168 at [email protected] if you are interested in donating or have more questions.
- My horse is physically sound, and does not have any major health related problems.
- My horse tolerates two people working on both sides simultaneously.
- My horse has some level of professional training.
- My horse can tolerate loud noises and does not startle easily.
- My horse can maintain his cool when startled by moving objects.
- My horse is a comfortable mount with even gaits.
- My horse can handle uneven weight on his back.
- If a rider becomes unbalanced, my horse will stop and wait for the rider to regain control.
- My horse is comfortable with strangers and enjoys the company of humans.
- My horse is sociable and good with other horses
REINS Therapy Horses serve as unique vehicles for inspiring positive changes in the lives of our riders. REINS herd of 20 horses have almost all been donated! Clearly, without people in the community donating exceptional horses, we would be unable to operate.
REINS therapy horses carry precious cargo and we take great care in selecting, evaluating and training them. Our Program Coordinator first evaluates all horses being considered to join the REINS herd. The horse’s conformation, movement, and behavior are evaluated, as well as their ground manners, ability under saddle, and suitability for riders with disabilities. If the horse is then accepted, he will come to REINS for a 90-day trial period. If the trial period is a success, donation papers are signed and REINS accepts the horse with gratitude. When a horse becomes ready for retirement the original owner has the right of first refusal. If they waive that right, REINS carefully selects a good home for our retiring Equine.
If you donate your horse to REINS you can be assured that your horse will receive exceptional care, unlimited love, and constant attention and appreciation. Further, you will receive the deep satisfaction of knowing that you are helping to make a profound difference in the lives of children and adults with special needs!
Please read the other FAQ about donating a horse to REINS, and if you feel your horse might be suitable for our program, please contact us by calling 760-731-9168.
PROGRAM FEE POLICY: Each 13-14 week session is $400. The program fee you are asked to pay only covers about 24% of the actual cost of the lessons. Therefore, two to three times each year you may be asked to help with a fundraising project. Funds raised through these projects are used only to ensure that the program will continue to operate. We hope you will help with these projects when the opportunities present themselves.
Our physical address is: 4461 S. Mission Rd. Fallbrook, CA 92028
From I15 exit 76 Pala and head West. Travel about 7 miles and turn North on to Mission Rd. REINS is located about 1 mile up on the left-hand side.
From I5 exit 76 and head East. Travel about 12 miles and turn North on to Mission Rd. REINS is located about 1 mile up on the left-hand side.
When you first arrive at REINS for your volunteering shift there are some things you need to do:
- Sign In!!! This is the way we keep track of your hours for your training milestones and for school or work so it is very important to sign in.
- Put on your name tag.
- Report to an instructor.
- Check Lesson Board for your lesson assignment or for any volunteer jobs.
- Get started!!!
- At the end of the day please log out and put back your name tag.
You will have an orientation with our Volunteer Coordinator, Allison Solander, or another staff member. You will be learning about our Tack Room, Lesson Board, grooming etc. We will give you a temporary name tag that you will need to wear at all times while here at REINS. You must be with another volunteer or instructor at all times until you have completed a group training session.
We need volunteers Monday through Friday for Morning Shifts (8:30a – 12:00p) and Afternoon Shifts (1:00p – 5:30p) and Saturday for Morning Shift (8:30a – 12:00p) and Afternoon Shift (12:30p – 4:00p). You can commit for as little as three months, but we greatly appreciate it if you can come for six months, a year, or more!
Please understand that we need our volunteers to be DEPENDABLE and PUNCTUAL! We depend on you to arrive on the days you have been scheduled. If you are not able to make it on your day, please call our office or let an instructor know at least one day ahead. Also, late arrival can cause problems in the scheduling and affect our lessons. Please be on time.
We keep track of your hours so you can use them for school, court or extra-curricular requirements.
- Sturdy, comfortable CLOSED-TOED shoes for safety and protection.
- Clothes that are comfortable and suited to the weather. We are in the sun a lot so please wear hats, sunglasses and sunscreen. Also in the winter a jacket is usually needed.
- We do have a soda machine and water but please bring any drinks or snacks you will want. We do not have a place for you to lock away any valuables so please leave them at home or in your car.