Benefits of Riding

What are the benefits of riding?

UCP’s adapted riding program provides individuals with disabilities the chance to participate in the sport of horseback riding in a fun and rewarding environment, while working hard to develop their riding skills. In fact, there are many great benefits of riding a horse. The horse’s motion closely replicates the human gait, as riders sit astride the horse at a walk, thus helping to improve the rider’s joint mobility, balance, and core strength. The motion of the horse can also stimulate the digestive, cardiovascular and respirator systems.

 For example, when a student learns to stop and start their horse, that might also help them develop the coordination, balance and communication necessary to:

  •  interact and play with friends or siblings
  • follow directions at home or school
  • put together a puzzle

Certified Instructors

All equine-assisted activities are supervised by a PATH certified instructor and may be assisted by up to three trained volunteers per student. The instructors teach horsemanship and riding skills in a safe, progressive manner, based on each participant’s abilities, as well as short and long-term goals. Ultimately, our goal for each student is for them to become as independent as possible on their horse. Many riders don’t realize how hard they are working because their are enjoying the ride so much.

Fun and Challenging Lessons

Lessons are fun, challenging, and encourage social interaction with peers, volunteers and instructors. These relationships provide a supportive environment in which many students thrive. Customized equine-assisted activities require concentration and enable many students to improve their ability to organize information and gain grater communication and memory skills.

 Other benefits include:


Knowing and following rules Memory, focus, impulse control, socialization, communication
Grooming horse Fine and gross motor skills, sequential thinking, memory and concentration
Tacking horse Sequential thinking, fine and gross motor skills, build muscle strength
Mounting horse Motor planning skills, muscle strength, coordination, balance, memory
Maintaining mid-line while mounted on horse Core strength, balance, trunk control, flexibility, stamina
Maneuvering horse with vocal cues Communication, memory, focus, balance
Using reins to stop/steer horse Trunk control, balance, coordination, fine and gross motor skills, following directions, motor planning
Transitioning between gaits Trunk control, core strength, balance, coordination, communication, stamina
Maintaining 2-point position Build muscle strength, core strength, balance, coordination