WHAT IS FREEDOM RIDE?
As the only Premier Accredited PATH facility in the Central Florida area, we provide therapeutic riding to adults and children four years and older with Spina Bifida, developmental disabilities, autism, Down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, brain injury, speech-language disorders, among others. The program began with two riders, a borrowed horse and the support of a handful of dedicated volunteers, renting space at a local barn. In 2001 the organization was awarded a lease on 10 acres of the City of Orlando owned property adjacent to Trotters Park. Culminating two years of hard work and dedication the facility relocated to it's new home in February 2003. From our centrally located facility we have seen an increase in overall services of more than 40% to date. Today, Freedom Ride reaches out to over 150 individuals annually and makes a dramatic impact on their lives..one smiling rider at a time!
WHY IS RIDING A HORSE THERAPEUTIC?
The movement of the horse, the rhythmic side-to-side, forward and backward movement is similar to a human. As participants sit atop a horse, their pelvic area, trunk and upper body move in motion to the horse. This stimulation gently relaxes taut muscles and thereby increases range of motion for the rider. The movement of the trunk encourages riders to work harder to balance their upper bodies, and routine activities develop hand-eye coordination. Learning new routines, sequencing and accessing short-term memory skills assist individuals who otherwise may experience difficulty with these tasks. As important, being able to participate in an activity like their siblings and able-bodied friends increases self-esteem and confidence.
"The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horses ears." 
- Arabian Proverb