Our Therapeutic Riding Programs
Therapeutic riding is more than just a pony ride. At PRDA, our therapeutic riding offers a unique program that uses horses as the therapist. People with varying physical, emotional, or mental abilities gain a host of benefits while they are learning how to ride and gaining horsemanship skills. We have found riders participate in our programs for a variety of reasons. Some people ride as part of a rehabilitation program, others ride for recreation and fun, and everyone develops new skills.
Each rider's program is specifically designed for their own, specific needs. The instructor and rider work together to set goals and customize a program that works towards those goals. If the rider is very young, their caregiver may also be involved in this process.
We offer several specialized riding programs for about 170 riders each week. Our facility is entirely wheelchair accessible, including specialized loading ramps, and a mechanized overhead hydraulic lift to move a rider from their wheelchair to the horse.
Rider Comfort and Safety
A large part of our success is due to our dedicated team of about 110 volunteers who dedicate time and effort each week to ensure that all of the needs are met and the riders can benefit from their lesson time. As many as 3 volunteers might be required to assist a rider in a class; one to lead the horse and one on either side of the rider to assist them, if needed, and to provide reassurance and a feeling of safety for the rider.
PRDA provides 44 weeks of lessons per year. We run our sessions in the Spring, Winter, and Fall as well as an inclusive fourth session in the Summer. Our Summer Session is special in that riders who don't normally ride in our programs are permitted to sign up for lessons. Friends, siblings, or caregivers are always happy to get to spend some time riding with their loved one.
PRDA is recognized as a leader in instructor certification. Our instructors have a wide range of certifications and backgrounds. All are trained and have certification in Therapeutic Riding or are in-training to become certified. In addition, some have certification at the Pony Club “A” level, which is an extremely high level of riding and horsemanship achievement. PRDA also has Equine Canada level coaches. We are a member in good standing with the BC Therapeutic Riding Association, the Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association (CanTRA), as well as the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Int'l).
Types of Programs Offered
Children and Youth Programs
These programs are designed to meet the needs of children and youth with a wide range of abilities, neurodiversities, and various skill sets. Learn more about our equestrian child rider programs.
This program offers adults with diverse abilities or chronic health issues the opportunity to participate in a safe and welcoming environment. Those benefiting most from this program are adults with cognitive, physical, emotional, and health-related challenges. Many participants begin as part of a recovery regime after an accident or illness, while others with chronic conditions enjoy the on-going therapeutic benefits horses provide. Learn more about our equestrian adult rider pograms.
Community Partnership Programs
PRDA partners with Ishtar Women’s Resource Society and provides a summer session of equine facilitated therapy to young children and youth who have witnessed significant domestic abuse. Our gentle equine “therapists” (our 4-legged staff, as we like to call them) help the youth regain a sense of control in a safe and trusting environment.
We have also been the fortunate recipients of "Live to Give" Day with the Vancouver Canucks Administration and Rink Team. The staff take a day off from their regular jobs and volunteer at a non-profit organization. Projects they have helped PRDA to complete include new fencing, painting projects, paddock upgrades, and repairs. The staff were fantastic and brought along tools and lumber to help us complete these projects.
PRDA has an ongoing partnership with many secondary and post-secondary schools for students completing volunteer hours, practicums, and internships. We have regularly partnered with Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Langara College, and recently the University of British Columbia, and the University of the Fraser Valley.
PRDA also partners with many seniors' centres in the Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley areas for tours, visits, and horseback riding. We have helped many seniors up onto the back of a horse, some as old as 99 and some who have never ridden before! PRDA offers a multitude of options for seniors to enjoy while visiting our facility, from brushing and riding the horses, to watching our miniature horses play together.
Would you like more information regarding our programs? Please feel free to contact us and we'll be happy to answer your questions.