Perhaps the horse is the ultimate physical therapist. Their rhythmical and multidimensional movement influences the rider’s body in a manner that resembles the human gait, resulting in improved flexibility, balance, and core trunk strength, especially important for riders with disabilities. Additionally, the horse’s huge eyes, big bodies, and responsive nature induce unique bonds to develop between human and horse. Riders with cognitive, physical or sensory disabilities often display a dramatic increase in confidence and empathy. Controlling a large animal helps to empower people and enables them to connect on personal level providing substantial emotional support.
Because of the great strides that are achieved from the back of a horse, ManeGait Therapeutic Horsemanship in McKinney, Texas was created. ManeGait, a Premier Accredited Center, was founded in 2007 by community leaders Bill and Priscilla Daring. This dynamic, non-profit charitable organization delivers high quality facilitated therapeutic riding to those who need it most – kids and adults, ages 2-60, with a wide range of physical, cognitive, sensory, and learning disabilities.
At ManeGait riders have taken their first steps, said their first words and give their first emotional connection, all because of the power of the horse. The families and volunteers take as much pride in these milestones as the riders do. ManeGait has become a place of hope, healing, accomplishments and firsts to many children and adults with disabilities, and has enabled the supportive surrounding community to take part in their progress.
ManeGait is located on a beautiful, rolling 14-acre site and serves riders from 16 different cities and towns. The community support has been outstanding, and the riders are assisted by more than 200 trained volunteers. Board and fundraising committees benefit from the help of an addition 150 volunteers.
The mission of ManeGait is that “children and adults with disabilities move beyond their boundaries through the healing power of the horse and the dedication of a professional, caring community.” ManeGait and the surrounding community has worked together to successfully carry out this mission.
All lessons are taught by NARHA, certified therapeutic riding instructors. Goals are set for each rider and the focus is on therapeutic value and skill progression. The ManeGait riders are becoming active in competition, taking the opportunity to showcase their skills, and be successful, often for the first time, in the competition arena. Many of the 95 weekly riders have represented ManeGait at Special Olympics, The Chisholm Challenge and the ManeGait All-Program Horse Show.
If you know someone who could benefit from ManeGait or wish to join us in improving the lives of North Texans, please contact our office or visit us online. Your donation of time, money, or in kind gifts will directly benefit those who need it most.
Join In. Mount up. Ride Tall. To learn more, visit www.manegait.org