Frequently Asked Questions

Do We Need a Referral?

Students are usually referred to Queen of Hearts by physicians, therapists, teachers, Veteran Centers, family members and friends. However, NO REFERRAL is needed.  ONLY RIDERS will need to obtain their physician’s permission to ride.  We can help you with that!

What type of Clients Do You Serve?

Our clients are challenged by various disabling conditions including cerebral palsy, autism, paraplegia, sight and hearing deficit, developmental and learning disabilities, and/or trauma. Their ages range from preschool through the senior adult years. To accommodate the vast array of participant needs, an individual lesson plan is constructed for each student by the student’s therapist and/or the Center’s head instructor. Therefore, all participants are able to develop their strengths and work to overcome their weaknesses.

How Does It Work?

For those students with physical challenges, the three-dimensional movement a rider experiences while astride the horse’s back provides a precise and repetitive pattern similar to the human walk.  While walking, the horse’s center of gravity shifts forward and back, up and down, and side to side. The rider’s body responds to the motions with improved body symmetry and muscle tone, increased head and neck control, and learned balance.

The horse’s movement also provides the rider with strong sensory input in the areas of the brain that registers touch and motion stimulation, making it an excellent therapy for persons needing these therapeutic benefits.  Riding is also good for the cardiovascular system and provides the rider with aerobic strength.

There are cognitive and psychological benefits from riding as well.  The lesson formats encourage riders to plan and execute sequenced activities that help them improve their information processing abilities. Instructors use props, games and exercises, so individuals with cognitive disabilities can learn to perform more complex and difficult tasks on horseback.  Many daily living skills and basic education objectives are incorporated into riding lessons.