Services are held year-round in our indoor arena and on our sensory nature trail.
Who We Serve
In hippotherapy sessions, our clients train under the guidance of a licensed and registered occupational therapist who uses the movement of the horse to meet each client’s specific goals.
What is Occupational Therapy? Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants help people of all ages function independently and successfully in the areas of life that are most important to them. Using the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations), occupational therapy (OT) takes a holistic approach to identifying and reaching clients’/patients’ therapy goals. OT is beneficial to a wide range of individuals, including but not limited to: those with physical disabilities, cognitive disabilities, those who have sustained injury and those struggling with mental illness. An occupational therapist’s toolbox is filled with hundreds of treatment modalities that are beneficial to all individuals, including horses to facilitate hippotherapy!
Children and adults hoping to improve focus, balance, muscle strength, communication, and posture to be more independent in daily life benefit from hippotherapy. Common diagnoses served include Autism, Anxiety, Depression, Down Syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos, Multiple Sclerosis, PTSD, and other mental and physical disabilities. Our clients receive instruction on exercises to do at home between sessions to ensure they maintain their progress.
Individuals of any age can benefit from hippotherapy. We have worked with clients as young as 2 and as old as 85. All clients undergo a thorough evaluation with our lead occupational therapist to ensure that they can safely experience hippotherapy. To make sessions as safe as possible, our facility has a ramp and individuals trained to walk next to clients to assist with balance as needed.
Clients’ goals may include gaining strength, balance, or communication tools to be more independent and successful. Other goals may include gaining coordination (fine and gross motor skills), building endurance for work and play, and learning to better follow commands.
One of the most unique and invaluable components of TTL’s hippotherapy program are the individualized home exercise programs that our occupational therapist customizes for each client to make sure their progress continues at home.
We accept the Autism and Community Waiver, Liss Funding, DORS Funding, and private pay. We can give you a receipt for occupational therapy services to submit to your insurance provider.
Client Story: Sophie
“I’m 17 years old and I love to draw,” says Sophie, a 17 year-old hippotherapy client diagnosed with Autism. “Riding at Taking The Lead, Inc. has helped me focus and pay attention which is really important to me in everyday life.” Sophie has progressed from requiring a leader and sidewalkers to ride her horse to riding Piper, one of the program’s most advanced horses, totally independently! Mama-Chita says, “Sophie’s ability to learn to ride independently inspired me to take the leap with my family to purchase Timberbrook Farm to be used for Taking The Lead, Inc.” In addition to horseback riding, Sophie is a very talented artist and she captured all of the personalities of Taking The Lead, Inc.’s horses and dogs in the cartoon that she drew that is now our logo. We are so proud to have Sophie’s art become our logo and represent the impact that our horses and dogs have on our clients’ success in therapy!
Client Story: A Parent’s Perspective
“My son has Autism. it presents itself in a variety of ways, but the most noticeable issues are anxiety and resistance to change in any form. These have led to numerous behavior issues over the course of his educational career. He enjoyed the horses, enjoyed spending time learning how to balance and so on. He mentions learning not to “hyperextend” when I ask him about what he’s learned in therapy.
But there’s more to it than that.
While he’s been strengthening and disciplining his body, his brain gets a chance to make new connections. But what has been most noticeable to us is how he is handling, well, everything else.
His teachers at school for this, his senior year, are really amazed at how his behavior has been so far this year. His class participation is excellent, his ability to cope with stressors so much improved. He is better able to use his agreed-upon coping strategies without much incident, and his indices in these areas are pointing to a marked improvement overall. His latest progress report is even showing straight-As. There are so many good days, now. It’s been wonderful to see.
Is all perfect? Of course not. But it’s improving. And I credit his time on horseback for more than just his improved balance and muscle tone. Occupational Therapy at Taking the Lead has helped in the intangibles, as well.”
We so appreciate all the staff at Taking the Lead!”
– Parents of a young man participating in hippotherapy