Texas Tech's Therapeutic Riding Center marks 20 years in the saddle
By: Norman Martin
Texas Tech University's Therapeutic Riding Center recently reached a milestone as they celebrated two decades of service and research with equine therapy.
Launched in the fall of 1998, the center had a humble beginning with only $500 and two borrowed horses. Since then, they've received donations and funds that have helped transform it into a resource for people who can benefit from therapeutic riding and hippotherapy.
Today, it's a Premier Accredited Center through Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International, and provides weekly services to about 75 child and adult riders who have a variety of disabilities and special needs using 17 horses and four certified therapeutic riding instructors.
Hippotherapy sessions involve an occupational, physical or speech therapist who uses a horse to reach the therapy goals the therapists have for their rider, while therapeutic riding involves incorporating a rider's therapeutic goals with the skills needed to ride a horse. The course is taught by certified therapeutic riding instructors.
In 2018, the Equine-Assisted Counseling and Wellness Clinic became the newest program to offer services through the Therapeutic Riding Center. Equine-Assisted Mental Health sessions involve horses helping humans accomplish their mental health and wellness goals with the guidance of a qualified mental healthcare provider.
The center is located at the Texas Tech Equestrian Center about 7.8 miles southwest of the main campus, and has partnerships with therapists from Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, Lubbock Early Childhood Intervention and private therapists.
Leslie Thompson, co-director for center and a professor of food science and safety with Tech's Department of Animal and Food Sciences, joined the center 14 years ago and has seen how it's helped so many people, which she credits to Heidi Brady, co-director for TRTC and a professor with Tech's Department of Animal and Food Sciences.
"If it weren't for Dr. Brady, everything in here wouldn't be," Thompson said. "If it weren't for her, there wouldn't be research in the industry that proves that this works and how."
Brady is a Diplomate with the American College of Animal Physiology in the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists; and is a certified therapeutic riding instructor within the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International organization. She has co-authored two textbooks, The Comprehensive Guide to Equine-Assisted Therapies and Activities and Horses in the American West: Portrayals by Twenty Four Artists.
In recognition of her lasting commitment to teaching and service, Brady received the 2018 NARRU (Non-land-grant Agriculture and Renewable Resources Universities) Distinguished Educator Award. Her research areas focus on hippotherapy, therapeutic riding, and equine management.
CONTACT: Michael Orth, chairman, Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Texas Tech University at (806) 834-5653 or firstname.lastname@example.org
0111NM19 / Editor's Note: Interested in more information on the Texas Tech Therapeutic Riding Center, please click here
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Editor: Norman Martin
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