New Here? Welcome!
Lessons in TR is a blog for therapeutic riding instructors where I share lesson plans, games, patterns, teaching tips, and other information I find helpful and interesting. While I focus on resources for PATH Intl. Certified Instructors and Instructors in Training, there is also useful information for general riding instructors and those exploring certification. I just want to pass on what I’ve learned and keep things as free as possible, because we’re all in this together!
What is TR?
The first “Lesson in TR” is what exactly is TR! “Therapeutic Riding” (TR) is a riding lesson for individuals with disabilities with the goal of teaching riding skills and using the natural therapeutic benefits of the horse to achieve the rider’s life goals and contribute positively to their cognitive, physical, emotional and social well-being.
Instructors are NOT “therapists” (board certified physical/occupational/speech therapists) and they do NOT provide “therapy” (with the goal of rehabilitation). Instructors ARE riding instructors with a special certification (hopefully) in safety standards, adaptations, and teaching techniques to instruct riders with disabilities from an international organization such PATH Intl., CanTRA, or the CHA. For more about the terminology, see the Terminology post.
A Little About Me & This Blog
I’m Cindy, a PATH Intl. Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor. I got certified in 2012 and have volunteered and worked and multiple therapeutic riding barns, including Bravehearts Therapeutic Riding in Illinois and People and Animal Learning Services (PALS) in Indiana.
I started this blog in 2012 because I noticed a lack of therapeutic riding resources online, and as of 2018 it is still one of the only blogs about therapeutic riding out there, with just over 1,000 subscribers and up to 300 visitors a day. Due to popular request, in 2017 I self-published the book “Activities for Therapeutic Horseback Riding Lessons,” and in its first year sold 400 hard copies and 60 PDFs. I am humbled by the support for this blog and encouraged by its readers!
Most of the lesson plans I share here are aimed at 30 minute lessons, but could be stretched to 45 minutes, and even 1 hour if you add grooming/tacking and untacking. The information I share is compiled from various resources and is by no means comprehensive, so don’t use it as your catch-all but rather your launching pad for continued learning!
For more about the blog and me, see the About page.
Don’t Know Where to Start?
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If you’re a Certified Instructor:
- The Index – browse through posts sorted by category, such as Lesson Planning, Skills, Teaching Tips, Activities, Adaptations, Horse Management, and Veterans
- The Home Page – read posts from most recent to oldest
If you’re an Instructor In Training:
- Guide to Certification – check out this page first! It’s a compilation of all the best and most relevant posts on this blog related to getting certified to instruct therapeutic horseback riding through PATH Intl., totally organized and complete with Table of Contents!
If you’re debating whether to get into therapeutic riding or not:
If you just want all the activities in a hard copy:
- Buy the Book – a compilation of all the best activities and games on the blog in 264 pages, organized as a lesson planning resource
If you still don’t know where to start, check out:
The most popular/visited posts:
- How to become a Certified Therapeutic Horseback Riding Instructor
- Gymkhana Games and Patterns
- Trail Class, Obstacles and Patterns
- What to Teach – Riding Skills List
- What to Teach – Horsemanship and Groundwork Skills
My personal favorite posts:
- Adaptations and Teaching Techniques for Riders with Severe Disabilities, Part 4: Skills & Activities
If you find this blog helpful:
- Please add to it by leaving comments on the posts! We all have something to learn from each other.
- Contribute an activity, lesson plan, idea or article on the Contact Me page. You can write it up yourself, or just give me an informal account and I’ll write something up. I love getting games from readers!
- Or just leave a general note on the About page!
Lastly, I’m so glad you’re here and wish you the best in your teaching journey!
Note: This is not professional advice, this is a blog. I am not liable for what you do with or how you use this information. The activities explained in this blog may not be fit for every rider, riding instructor, or riding center depending on their current condition and resources. Use your best personal judgement! If you would like to contribute an activity or article, please contact me here, I would love to hear from you!