Riders must meet the following criteria to be eligible to participate in Bearcat Therapeutic Riding’s adapted riding program:

  • Must be diagnosed with a physical, cognitive or social/emotional disability that impairs their ability to take part in a regular riding program
  • Must be at least 3 years old
  • Must meet weight requirements
  • Must behave in a way that is not harmful to animals or volunteers
  • Must be able to and consent to wearing an American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) approved helmet for the duration of the lesson
  • Must have a letter from their physician regarding any precautions or possible contraindications to riding a horse
  • Riders with Down syndrome must have proof of a negative cervical x-ray for atlantoaxial instability
  • All required rider forms must be updated annually
  • Review the Riders Handbook


Adapted Riding Lessons

An adapted riding lesson is 30-45 minutes depending on the age and physical condition of the rider. Each class consists of two-four riders. The lesson includes grooming/tacking horses, mounting riders, tack adjustments, warm-up, review of previously learned skills, teaching of a new skill, games and activities to reinforce skills, cool-down, and dismount. Lessons are geared to the abilities of the riders. Most riders begin with three volunteers, one leading the horse and two sidewalking, and progress to independent riding, if able.

Riders enjoy physical, cognitive and emotional benefits including improved balance, strength, coordination, confidence, attention, communication and social skills, to name a few. Astride a horse, riders with special needs are given the opportunity to experience freedom of movement and acquire confidence by mastering skills, often reserved for their able-bodied peers. Please consult your physicians and therapists regarding the benefits of adapted riding for yourself or your loved one. We look forward to seeing you at the barn.


When We Ride

Riding lessons are offered throughout the week and are scheduled based on horse availability.

If you are interested in riding in our adapted riding program, please call 864-388-8590 or email Tara Slatton at tslatton@lander.edu, complete the New Rider Forms and review the Rider Guidelines.


Forms and Resources