Little Bit serves individuals with physical, cognitive, and/or emotional disabilities through adaptive riding or hippotherapy. Our clients are served weekly across four annual sessions. Each of our programs varies in its approach, but everyone benefits from the unique power of the human-horse partnership.
Little Bit’s adaptive riding program provides recreational horseback riding lessons to individuals with special needs. Riders learn horsemanship and riding skills in an environment tailored to their individual needs and learning styles. We offer instruction to riders of all skill levels, from providing someone’s first contact with a horse to training athletes for the Paralympic Games. The goals for those in the adaptive riding program are riding-skill based, but individuals and parents often report many therapeutic benefits of participation. These benefits include improvements in physical strength, balance, coordination, mobility, self-confidence, self-control, peer interaction, and social skills.
Hippotherapy is a physical, occupational, or speech-language treatment strategy that utilizes equine movement to achieve functional outcomes. Each treatment session is conducted by a licensed therapist who manipulates the movement of the horse to engage the motor, sensory, and/or cognitive systems of the patient. The movement of the horse is multi-dimensional and provides simulation of what a normal walking pattern should feel like: it is rhythmic, consistent, and predictable, just as human walking is. The movement of the horse cannot be duplicated by any piece of equipment. The dynamic nature of the horse’s gait can be manipulated to precisely regulate the input to meet each patient’s individual needs. Our facility provides a unique setting for hippotherapy that incorporates the benefits of a more natural environment with novel sensory and motivating experiences for development of functional skills.
An integral part of Little Bit’s mission is to be an inspiration and educational resource to the therapeutic riding and hippotherapy professions. To achieve that, Little Bit hosts several workshops, courses, clinics, seminars, and certifications annually. We also mentor new and prospective adaptive riding instructors, therapists, and administrators.