08:34 AM

Community Impact: Butterfly Dreams Farm Therapeutic Riding Program

Butterfly Dreams Farm Therapeutic Riding Program helps children and adults with special needs gain mobility and social skills while riding horses. The Jackson EMC Foundation provided a $10,000 grant to the nonprofit for its therapeutic riding and hippotherapy program.

Hippotherapy targets children and adults with special needs like autism, cerebral palsy and Down syndrome. A licensed therapist uses the horse’s movement to stimulate a rider’s sensory systems, helping riders with limited mobility or speech to develop coordination and strength. Therapeutic riding focuses on horse care and riding techniques as certified instructors monitor horse and rider interaction to boost communication and psychosocial skills. 

“At Butterfly Dreams Farm, children who work so hard to navigate a world not made with them in mind have a chance to be free and joyful with their equine companions,” said Butterfly Dreams Board President Joey Bristol. “It’s good for children and adults with various mental and physical challenges as well as any suffering from stress or anxiety.” 

Riders are matched with horses that help them develop balance, coordination, and core strength which, in turn, strengthens brain muscles. 

According to Bristol, studies show that a rider’s movement while on a horse provides neurological, psychosocial and emotional benefits while developing fine and gross motor skills, communication skills, sensory awareness and independence.

For more information about Butterfly Dream Farms, visit butterflydreamsfarm.org.