New Canaan Mounted Troop Offers Horse Therapy Program


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New Canaan Mounted Troop, a nonprofit organization that teaches children to ride and take care of horses, will offer a Therapeutic Riding Program in the fall. The program will be led by two Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship certified instructors.

girl on horse jumping a fence

Stephanie Schwartz rides The Dark Knight,
aka "Doc", in the Academy Short Stirrup class.  

The New Canaan Mounted Troop is a nonprofit organization that teaches horseback riding, care, and horsemanship to children ages 7 and older. Their Full Cadet program runs from September-June and has classes twice a week—one day of riding and one day of completing tasks in the barn. Jenny Schwartz, developmental director, says all of their horses are donated from owners who can no longer care for them, which is what makes NCMT different.

“The horses are the backbone of the organization, literally and figuratively,” Schwartz says. “The kids come together to work around the horses. It is a democratizing experience.

This fall, the NCMT is starting a Therapeutic Riding Program for children and adults with special needs. NCMT hired two PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) certified instructors to teach a riding and grounds program—where kids learn how to care for the horses—for people with cognitive, physical, or emotional disabilities, Schwartz says.

“The benefits are through the stories of the children,” Schwartz says. “It impacts each person differently, but the net result is [a person who is] happier, peaceful, and more aware.”

Schwartz says the movement of the horse simulates the walking motion of humans, which helps people who are physically limited, and there is an emotional bond with the animal that helps those who are nonverbal. The Therapeutic Riding Program runs for 10 weeks from 9am-12pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The NCMT is also hoping to start a Veterans grounds-only program to help disabled veterans.


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