Therapeutic Riding Centers
JNF is dedicated to ensuring that no member of Israeli society is left behind. Through a variety of initiatives, JNF provides cutting-edge rehabilitative services, special education, and medical care for people with special needs.
The benefits of horseback riding for those with disabilities have been recognized for over 3,000 years, since the time of Hippocrates. Therapeutic riding has been widely used since the early 1950s as a tool for improving the lives of people with disabilities. Individuals with almost any cognitive, physical and/or emotional disability can benefit from therapeutic riding, driving, vaulting, competition or other purposeful, safe and supervised interaction with horses.
How Therapeutic Riding Therapy Works
Because horseback riding gently and rhythmically moves the rider's body in a manner similar to a human gait, riders with physical disabilities often show improvement in verbalization, flexibility, balance, muscle tone, strength, posture, coordination, motor development and emotional well being. For individuals with mental or emotional disabilities, the unique relationship formed with the horse can lead to increased confidence, patience and self-esteem. The sense of independence and acceptance found through these activities with the horse benefits all.
Many participants spend their days confined to a wheelchair or walker, and have to deal with their minds and bodies telling them they can’t do something they want to do. But on the back of a horse, they often discover that they can achieve the very things they thought were impossible. There’s a bond that develops between riders, horses and volunteers: a bond of love, caring and trust. And there are miracles, like the little girl who had never uttered a word, yet began speaking to her horse, or the little boy who had never been able to support his own weight, and is now learning to walk on his own.
Individuals with the following disabilities commonly participate and benefit from equine-facilitated therapy and activities: Muscular Dystrophy, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Visual Impairment, Down Syndrome, Brain Injuries, Developmental Disabilities, Multiple Sclerosis, Spina Bifida, Amputations, Spinal Cord Injuries, Learning Disabilities, Attention Deficit Disorder, Hearing Impairment, Cerebral Vascular Accidents (CVA), Stroke.
How JNF is Helping
JNF supports the Red Mountain Therapeutic Riding Center (RMTRC) at Kibbutz Grofit. The women of JNF's Sapphire Society provide scholarships to RMTRC's "Day of Studies" program for children with mental and physical disabilites from kindergarten through high school. JNF's assistance ensures that this unique rehabilitative therapy is available to children in need whose families are unable to afford treatment.