The riding and driving lessons offer huge social benefits to G.R.A.C.E.’s clients. They meet new people, experience being around the horses, learn about barn rules and other protocols and generally challenge themselves. For a few hours each week, they are removed from the everyday world and enter a totally new and distinct environment.


There are many benefits to both the Therapeutic Riding as well as the Therapeutic Cart Driving programs:


  • Improved balance and muscle strength; coordination, reflexes

  • Increased muscular control and improved postural control

  • Increased range of motion of joints; stretching of tight or spastic muscles

  • Increased endurance and low-level cardiovascular conditioning

  • Stimulates sensory integration

  • Improved visual-spatial perception and improved gross and fine motor skills


  • Improved self-confidence, self-esteem and self-image

  • Development of patience, emotional control and self-discipline

  • Socialization and improved interpersonal skills 

  • Increased perception of quality of life and life satisfaction


  • Learning cart driving knowledge and skills

  • Learning safe behaviors for cart driving

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The Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association (CanTRA) is a registered charity that promotes challenge, achievement and empowerment for children and adults with disabilities through the use of the horse. CanTRA also provides education and instructor certification.

There are now 80 plus member centres across Canada providing high quality therapeutic, recreation, life skills and sport programs. CanTRA is a member of Horses in Education and Therapy International (HETI) and is recognized as the only governing body for therapeutic riding in Canada.

Benefits of Therapeutic Riding:

  • Development of mobility, balance and co-ordination

  • Improvement of muscle tone and strength

  • Increased concentration and improved learning skills

  • A challenging recreational activity

  • Independence, integration and a sense of achievement

  • Development of self-confidence and motivation


What on earth is that?

Well, it has nothing to do with therapy for a hippopotamus! The term ''hippotherapy'' comes from the Greek word ''hippos'' and literally means ''treatment with the help of a horse''   This form of therapy originated in Germany, Switzerland and Austria and is now utilized by many therapists all over the world.

Hippotherapy is a type of therapy used within the scope of practice for Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists and Speech and Language Pathologists. Therapists use the purposeful movement of the horse to engage sensory, neuromotor and cognitive systems to achieve functional outcomes and goals and is part of a patient' s care plan.
The horse' s movement provides unique experiences to the patient. The multi-dimensional movement of the horse produces pelvic and spinal movement in the patient that is similar in ratio to the multi-dimensional movement required in human gait. The horse' s movement provides a repetitive, predictable and symmetrical, dynamic surface on which the patient can develop and practice postural control and balance.

Hippotherapy affects many different systems in our bodies:

  • motor

  • musculoskeletal

  • nervous

  • limbic

  • respiratory

  • circulatory

  • sensory processing

  • speech-language

  • cognition

It also provides opportunities for patients to experience visual flow, vestibular input as well as developing relationships, and enjoyment of animal contact.

Hippotherapy is different from Therapeutic Riding. With Hippotherapy, the horse is used as a therapy tool. The session is one-on-one, and the patient may be on the horse in many different positions such as forward or backward facing, side sitting or lying on the horse. The equipment/tack on the horse is very minimal. There is a therapist, horse leader and volunteer side walkers. Therapeutic riding is geared toward equestrian activities adapted for individuals with special needs. It develops a rider's equestrian abilities and horsemanship. It is often done with a group of riders, taught by a CanTRA instructor with the help of volunteers on a weekly basis, for a pre-determined session length.

Information provided by 

Sandra  Hall Physiotherapy


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Equine-Assisted Learning

"Equine-Assisted Learning (EAL) is an effective approach to human and leadership development in which horses play a key educational role. It is a proactive approach to empowering the individual through group interactive exercises where transferable skills can be learned.
The horses’ sensitive nature, awareness of their surroundings and ability to recognize the difference between a calm, non-threatening approach and nervous or anxious energy make them exceptional teachers in the realm of experiential learning. Working together with groups and teams, horses help gently guide participants through our many experiential programs" Excerpt from

"It has been called experiential learning, horse/human interaction, non-verbal communication. It also has many titles, Equine Assisted Learning, Equine Assisted Therapy, Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, and many more. Regardless of what it is called, it is communication between a horse and human that brings about change in the human. We know horses have an amazing ability to reach deep inside a human and touch on parts of their life that need attention.  Just connecting with the horse can help someone realize where changes need to be made, where healing needs to take place, where life resolutions need to happen.  Equine Assisted Learning is that process that helps make this happen and sets someone on a new path." Excerpt from

Join the Cause

Testimonial "Many tales came home after my son visited G.R.A.C.E. for his physiotherapy incorporating hippotherapy appointments with Sandra Hall this past year. He had a wonderful rapport with the volunteers who welcomed him into the facility and made him feel at ease. Having DCD (Developmental Coordination Disorder), my son has not always had an easy time with different environments and new people, but at G.R.A.C.E., as parents, we never had to be concerned with how people or horses would treat him. The kindness that he received was truly a significant addition to his medical care. We would like to thank G.R.A.C.E. and Sandra for our memorable moments that we continue to cherish."

Please donate to help G.R.A.C.E. continue to provide these programs