THE NVTRP EXPERIENCE
The Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program (NVTRP) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) that provides equine-assisted activities for children and adults with disabilities, youth-at-risk, recovering military service personnel, and their families in an inclusive, community setting.
NVTRP, located at O'Shaughnessy Farm, offers a wide range of programs and services to children and adults who live with disabilities in the Washington Metropolitan Area.
There is an opportunity for everyone at NVTRP, whether it is a child diagnosed with autism, cerebral palsy or Down syndrome; a young teen coping with the effects of abuse; an elderly adult who now uses a wheelchair and lives with the vestiges of polio; or a veteran regaining life’s balance while recovering from an amputation, brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder. NVTRP helps to build and focus on students’ abilities, rather than disabilities by providing high-quality therapeutic riding and hippotherapy. NVTRP also offers riding lessons and summer camp to people without disabilities through Fairfax County Park Authority.
For over thirty-five years NVTRP has helped riders to recognize the unexpected potential in their lives. Students improve fitness level and mobility through programs by gaining core strength, muscle control and balance. Working closely with horses and volunteers inspires students to build self-esteem and further socialization, and also helps to provide both students and their families with a sense of community and belonging.
NVTRP is accredited and nationally recognized by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Int’l). Lessons are taught by PATH Intl. Certified Riding Instructors who are assisted by up to three volunteers per rider. This type of structure and supervision enables riders to participate in a challenging, physically active sport that gives them confidence and a sense of accomplishment.
Lessons at NVTRP are diverse and include instruction in riding skills, exercises, and games, while also focusing on grooming and horse care. This unique riding opportunity helps students to achieve an enriched quality of life while overcoming physical, mental, and emotional obstacles.
Studies showing the benefits of riding for people with disabilities
Washington School of Medicine, Program in Occupational Therapy Abstract a study of the physical benefits of riding for someone with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy
The Association Between Therapeutic Horseback Riding and the Social Communication and Sensory Reactions of Children with Autism, published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders