Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Therapeutic Riding Program assists people with special needs

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Therapeutic Riding Show is coming up on June 12th but the Center is currently raising funds for one of their special programs.

Helen Woodward Animal Center PR Director Jessica Gercke joined Good Morning San Diego to explain the benefits of horse-riding therapy.

The program started at Helen Woodward Animal Center in 1983 and was developed to assist children and adults with a variety of special needs from cerebral palsy, to Down’s syndrome and autism, to stroke recovery and learning disabilities.

Students ride specially-trained horses with certified instructors in weekly sessions to develop increased balance and muscle control, improve concentration and short-term memory, and enhance their confidence and self-esteem.

The program aims to keep learning fun for both human students and the Center’s therapy horses by incorporating obstacle courses allowing riders to control their horses through cones and mazes and over poles. The basic riding skills incorporate all parts of the body (hands, legs, and eyes) and also aid in developing core strength and balance from sitting upright during riding and controlling their horse.

Gercke said, “It takes a special horse to do this unique work and their care is costly. You can help ensure more children and adults can enjoy the overwhelming benefits of Therapeutic Riding by giving today toward their care.”

To Donate – Go to www.animalcenter.org/stable-support

For more information on adopting a pet from Helen Woodward Animal Center, contact the Adoptions Department at (858) 756-4117 x313, or go online at www.animalcenter.org.

Categories: Good Morning San Diego, Local San Diego News