WHAT IS FREEDOM RIDE?

Freedom Ride was established as a 501 c 3 in 1998 with just one horse and one rider. Within four years Freedom Ride became the first Premier Accredited PATH (Premier Accredited Therapeutic Horsemanship) facility in Central Florida. Freedom Ride provides therapeutic horseback riding and related activities for individuals with disabilities. Today Freedom Ride provides therapeutic riding for over 80 children and adults each week.

 

Due to interest in Freedom Ride’s unique and proven benefits, a Mental Wellness program was established in 2017 offering therapeutic ground work with the horses. This program serves those with difficult life situations such as substance abuse, anxiety, depression and human trafficking. Additionally, in early 2018 a Memorandum of Understanding was established between Freedom Ride and the Orlando VA Medical Center. Freedom Ride is honored to serve our U.S. Veterans in Central Florida. This is the organization's fastest growing program.



For over 15 years Freedom Ride has called 10 acres on Lee Road its home which is actually leased land from the City of Orlando. The continued increase in programs has created the need for more acreage and the need for a covered arena to hold classes in the hot summer months. 


A capital campaign began in late 2019 to relocate Freedom Ride to 25 acres, ideal for all of their programs and just 2. 4 miles from the current location. A new 20-stall barn, covered arena and purchase of the property are included in the goal of the capital campaign which is close to $4 million. Over 1/3 of the goal has been reached. Freedom Ride plans to relocate to the new property in May 2021.

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 horse's ears." 
- Arabian Proverb