TREE House of Greater St. Louis, formerly known as Therapeutic Horsemanship, has provided award-winning equestrian therapy programs for people with disabilities in St. Louis City, St. Louis, St. Charles, Warren, and Lincoln Counties and the surrounding areas since 1975. Our programs serve individuals ages 2 and up. Clients participating in our equine-assisted therapy programs have some type of disability including, but not limited to: Autism, Cerebral Palsy, CVA/Stroke, Developmental Disabilities, Down syndrome, Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Spina Bifida, Spinal Cord Injuries, Traumatic Brain Injuries, and Mental Retardation. On average, 75 percent of TH clients are under the age of 18.
The benefits of therapeutic riding are well documented. Because the horse's gait is similar to the human walk, riding strengthens and supports the natural motion of the spine and pelvis. This repetitive motion helps to improve balance, coordination, strength and muscle tone as it gently mobilizes the joints. In addition, riding and interacting with the horse fosters self-confidence and motivation. The freedom and independence clients experience through Therapeutic Horsemanship’s programs act as a bridge to accomplishments and lead to success in other areas of their lives as well.
We operate year-round with both day, evening, and weekend classes. Individuals 24 months of age and older may participate in our program. Partial scholarships may be available.
Click here to download the current registration packet. Have questions? Call us at 636.332.4940.
- Hippotherapy: Literally “horse therapy” or “treatment with the help of the horse." This is a dynamic treatment approach that uses the movement of the horse based on principles of classic Hippotherapy – neuromotor function and sensory processing. This program uses the horse as the therapy tool and is designed for individuals with disabilities to increase balance and control of movement on and off the horse. Specially trained volunteers are used as the direct link along with the therapist or instructor’s guidance to the client and the achievement of personal therapeutic goals using the movement of the horse.
- Equine Facilitated Learning or “Bonding with Horses”: This is an equine facilitated psychotherapy program that provides an interactive approach for clients coping with behavioral and emotional issues. This approach to therapeutic riding focuses on clients interacting with horses in a variety of ways. Clients will learn more about horses in numerous activities such as catching, grooming, caring for horses, and studying horse behavior including ground and round-pen work.
- Sports Riding: Clients focus on learning horseback riding skills with the assistance of trained volunteers who are used as the direct link between the instructor’s guidance to a client and the achievement of therapeutic goals with the aid of a horse. Clients acquire the skills necessary to influence the pace and direction of the horse. Clients will work toward riding independently.
- Independent Sports Riding: Clients increase their skills without the assistance of trained volunteers. They learn techniques that accommodate their disability so independent horse care and management can be mastered. Clients will work on advanced riding skills that help prepare them for competition, drill team maneuvers and increased horsemanship.
- TH Freedom Reins: “TH Freedom Reins” is aligned with a nationwide program that was created in 2007 by the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA) and the Veterans Administration (VA) to assist America’s wounded service personnel and veterans. There are currently 31 programs in the United States. This is the first program of its kind offered in the St. Louis area. Program participants include wounded service personnel and veterans with challenges such as: head and spinal cord injuries, amputation, auditory and visual impairments, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Specially trained instructors and therapists work with trained therapy horses and active-duty, discharged, and retired military volunteers to create a supportive, empathetic environment. Service personnel work to increase balance and control of movement on and off the horse. In Sports Riding, veterans focus on learning horseback riding skills through the achievement of therapeutic goals, eventually working to ride independently.
- Recreational Riding: The Gaitway Riding Program offers riding lessons to individuals with all abilities. Riders of all levels are encouraged to enroll. Depending on your interests, TH can tailor a program suited to you. Lessons available in English and Western disciplines and Carriage Driving.
- Summer Camps: TH offers a variety of summer camps for children and young adults with and without disabilities. Camps run from June through August. Click here to see 2015 summer camp opportunities.
- Competition Team: Advanced clients learn about sportsmanship, teamwork, and the rules of showing. Competition in horse shows and ability awareness takes place locally, nationally, and internationally.
- Riding Experiences: Organizations contract with us to provide equine experiences in the community often at summer camps for individuals with disabilities.