On October 5th 2017, the IME class paid their first visit to the site of Lethbridge Therapeutic Riding Association. We wanted to see the organization and what a typical day looks like for them so we could better understand their work and their role in the community, as well as gain some internal insights that will come in handy when we are tasked with consulting with them.
Our first stop was inside the LTRA arena, which was rebuilt in recent years after a roof collapse in 2014. At the time of IME's arrival, there were riding sessions going on so we were able to observe the experience of individuals with special needs being able to ride around on a horse.
Although it may appear to the regular observer that people are just leading the horses around with people sitting on them, there is much more that goes on. For the clients of LTRA, coming out to the farm is a big deal because they get to experience something that they wouldn't normally experience. They are also given opportunities to interact with the horses by doing activities with them and assisting in some of the basic tasks of caring for a horse. Horseback riding also provides individuals who cannot walk with a chance to exercise their core, which they wouldn't normally be able to do by themselves. The horses and the clients form special bonds.
After observing the riding sessions the IME class was able to look around the facility and sit down with LTRA's Executive Director, Tony Deys, for a brief discussion of the organization before the board comes to meet with the class on October 16th. We were able to ask questions and gain valuable information to think about before we are given more context on the case we are helping with.
Overall, visiting LTRA was a very pleasant experience that opened our eyes more to the impact that Therapeutic Riding has on individuals in the community, as well as what challenges we will soon be tackling.
Lethbridge Therapeutic Riding Association is filled with friendly faces of people and animals who all share a unique bond and purpose: bringing light to and enhancing the physical and emotional well-being of the people they work with.