For several years, the Howards' daughter, Elizabeth, has taken part in the TEAM program, which is offered seven weeks each spring and fall at the Mississippi Horse Park. The Howards believe their daughter, who was born with cerebral palsy in 2000, has benefited from the program.
"We definitely can see how the riding has strengthened her core. It also has improved her confidence level," her father said.
Mary Riley, coordinator for Mississippi State=s 4-H therapeutic riding program,
said construction will begin on the West Point facility this spring and should
be completed by the end of summer. Mississippi State 4-H TEAM is nationally
accredited by the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association through
the Premier Accredited Center Program.
"Therapeutic riding is a specialized equine activity that provides physical,
emotional and psychological benefits to people with cognitive and physical disabilities," Riley
said. "Trained instructors provide carefully planned activities developed
by a health professional and a certified riding instructor. The horse is used
as a treatment tool to help riders achieve their goals."
Riley said the dedicated facility will enable greater access to the program. "We will likely have more riders from north Mississippi," she said. "Instead of two seven-week sessions, we will be able to offer as many as four 12-week sessions."
For more information on MSU's 4-H therapeutic riding program, contact Riley at (662) 325-1695 or email@example.com.