Therapeutic Riding Program (HALTR)
The Halifax Area Leisure and Therapeutic Riding Association is a charitable organization operating at the Halifax Junior Bengal Lancers. The Halifax Junior Bengal Lancers has been home to a therapeutic riding program since the late 1960s when Dr. Crosby and Dr. Grant initiated a riding program for children from the Children’s Hospital and the School for the Blind. In 1994 the name Halifax Area Leisure and Therapeutic Riding (HALTR) was adopted and the association became registered as a charity.
This society offers horseback riding to members of the community with special needs. HALTR is a member of the Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association (CanTRA) and as such we have access to accreditation standards, competitions, continuing education, and insurance coverage. We have liaisons with Sport Canada, Equine Canada, Federation of Riding for the Disabled International, and with the Paralytic Equestrian Committee.
The HALTR program is run entirely by volunteers, including the CanTRA certified instructors. We carefully select all of our horses and ponies from the Halifax Junior Bengal Lancers’ stable, based on their temperament and conformation. They are then given additional training to familiarize them with special circumstances that may arise and special equipment that may be necessary in our therapeutic riding program.
1. Safe riding program under the supervision of CanTRA certified instructors.
2. Recreational and competitive opportunities through the CanTRA Achievements Awards and Horse Shows.
3. Volunteering training
4. Mentorship for volunteers wishing to become CantTRA certified instructors.
5. Examinations for CanTRA certification
6. ASTM approved riding helmets and other equipment beneficial for various disabilities.
7. Other special equipment beneficial to various disabilities.
Benefits of HALTR
Therapeutic Riding can help improve the physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being of most people with special needs. Riding for these equestrians is a challenging and invigorating form of exercise and recreation that gives the rider a sense of accomplishment and increased self-esteem.
For individuals that have disabilities that affect mobility, the horse provides freedom of movement and independence from assertive devices such as wheelchairs and crutches. The physical benefits include improvements in balance and coordination, and an increase in agility because of the mobilization of stiff joints and strengthening muscles.
HOW CAN SOMEONE HELP THE HALTR PROGRAM?
There are two ways you can assist the HALTR program:
1. Become a Volunteer – HALTR will train you to help with our program. No horse experience is necessary but it does help.
2. Provide financial support by:
– Sponsoring a child to ride
– Providing upkeep for a horse/pony
– Organize a fundraising event
– Donating to the general operating costs
WHO CAN JOIN HALTR?
Our program is offered to children and young adults with disabilities such as but are not limited to individuals with:
- Spina Bifida,
- Downs Syndrome,
- Cerebral Palsy,
- Multiple Sclerosis,
- Traumatic brain injuries or stroke,
- Hearing and Visually Impaired,
- Attention Deficit Disorder,
- Neurological disorders,
- and learning disabilities.
If you know of a person whom you think would benefit from joining HALTR, please contact us. You will be asked a number of questions regarding the potential rider. Please try to be accurate and honest with your answers because the questions you will be asked with help HALTR to assess whether this person would be a suitable candidate for the riding program.
The Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association (CanTRA) issue a number of contra-indications to horseback riding to which HALTR adheres by.
For more information contact:
Our current session is full. Please email us to be added to the wait list or to become a volunteer!
HALTR Charitable Tax #890783947RR0001
HALTR operates a spring (April-June) and a fall (September-November) session each year with a series of summer camps in between (July-August). The spring and fall sessions are group lessons with up to four riders to one instructor. In the summer we have a few sessions for the purposes of assessment of new or potential riders. Each riders typically requires on volunteer to lead the horse and two volunteers to side walk.