Sponsored by BREC
Imagine yourself riding down a shaded trail. You feel the breeze and take in a deep breath, smelling the wildflowers blooming around you. You are connected with the powerful and majestic creature carrying you on its back and together, you communicate without saying a word. Riding a horse just makes you see the world differently.
Interacting with horses has been proven to benefit a person’s physical, occupational, and emotional growth. There is plenty of research showing the therapeutic value of horsemanship for people with everything from anxiety and depression to Autism, Cerebral Palsy, and Dementia. Even patients who have suffered traumatic brain injuries, or those with behavioral issues and other mental health problems show marked improvement after interacting with horses. Because horses react only to the patient’s behavior and emotions and are not biased by the patient’s physical appearance or past mistakes, equine therapy can help individuals build confidence, communication, trust, perspective, social skills, impulse control and boundary-setting.
Don’t worry—you don’t have to buy a horse to enjoy these benefits. BREC’s Farr Park Equestrian Center on River Road features horse trails as well as both indoor and outdoor arenas. They have over 200 stalls located just two miles from the LSU campus and six miles from downtown Baton Rouge. In addition to lessons, camps and equine therapy, Farr Park also offers boarding for horses and RV parking for easy LSU tailgating.
Schedule a guided trail ride. BREC’s Farr Park Equestrian center offers guided trail rides on select Saturdays and Sundays. You’ll enjoy a one-hour gentle ride through the park, no experience required. Trail rides are by appointment only, and all riders must be at least 6 years old. Rides will be held rain or shine. Inclement weather trail rides will be held in the indoor arena. This fun activity is perfect for families, groups and friends.
Farr Park even hosts summer and holiday camps for young riders of all skill levels.
Campers learn basic riding and horsemanship skills and participate in crafts, games and other horse-related activities. The Adventure Camp keeps them loving the outdoors with afternoons spent paddling kayaks, canoes and stand up paddle boards as well as hiking, biking, fishing, archery, paddle skating, slack lining, land navigation, geocaching and other outdoor-themed activities.
THE FOUR REASONS:
1. Improve your physical state. Because riders use their entire body to guide and propel the horse, most notice improvement in their reflexes, balance and coordination as well as improved muscle tone and overall flexibility. When a horse walks with a rider on its back, the rider’s pelvis moves in the same motion as if he or she were walking. Lifting saddles onto the back of a horse, mucking stalls and moving hay bales helps to build muscles and increase overall physical strength.
2. Calm your mind. Horses are more highly attuned to their environment and sensitive to people’s emotional states than even dogs or other animals typically used in assisted therapies. Connecting with horses can relieve negative emotions, teach riders to read non-verbal cues and learn to trust, nurture and be assertive. Take riding lessons in traditional English and Western styles at Farr Park. Whether just learning to ride or improving your skills, Farr Park offer lessons to students age 6 and up and at all different skill levels in both group and private settings. in addition to riding lessons, Farr also offers Trot and Brew, a beginner horsemanship course for adults every Monday from 7-8:30 p.m. Round up some friends and click here to register.
3. Build confidence. Horseback riding teaches patience, discipline, understanding, empathy, compassion, self-control, and dedication. Farr Park offers The Hearts & Hooves Therapeutic Riding Program for riders ages 6 and older with physical, mental, and social disabilities to participate in a six-week session with riding lessons tailored to their special needs Classes have a maximum of 10 riders, led by three instructors and up to three volunteer assistants per rider. Hearts and Hooves is always looking for volunteers—click here for more information.
4. Connect with nature. Horseback riding brings us out into the fresh air and closer to nature. Horses are social creatures just like humans. Being able to communicate and interact with an animal has a positive effect on people too.
For more information, visit BREC.org/Farr, like Farr Park on Facebook or call 225-769-7805.