Committed to giving those with disabilities the same opportunities as those who are not disabled, Cincinnati Therapeutic Riding and Horsemanship (CTRH) offers a plethora of recreational and therapeutic horseback riding programs that physically and mentally benefit children and adults with disabilities.
Started in 1985 by Sue Radabauugh, Bobbi Thies and Chile Rodgers, CTRH is proud to anticipate that 125 riders will participate in more than 1,700 hours of service this year compared to the first year of CTRH where only five riders participated. The overwhelming response from children and adults with disabilities to the interaction with ponies inspired many to get involved with the non-profit organization.
One inspired person in particular is Linda Ray Rubel, who is now Executive Director of CTRH. Rubel began volunteering at CTRH in 1996 and quickly became a member of the Board of Trustees in 1998. “I was a volunteer and on the Board for many years,” Rubel recalls. “CTRH does wonderful work helping children and adults with disabilities.”
Located in Milford, Ohio, CTRH’s 19-acre property is fully equipped with an indoor riding ring, an outdoor pavilion and an indoor viewing area for parents. CTRH has a team of therapy horses and opportunities for volunteers to act as “buddies” to the riders, in which they help the riders tack and groom their horses as well as lead and side walk during class. “In 1985, we had one rented pony and five riders,” she says. “We now have 16 therapy horses and over 100 participants each year.” According to Rubel volunteers are always welcome, but must be at least 14 years old, complete a “Volunteer’s Packet” on CTRH’s site and attend a training session.
CTRH offers four different therapeutic programs: Adaptive Recreational Riding, $40 per one hour group lesson; Hippotherapy, $65 per ½ hour session with a therapist who utilizes the movement of the horse to address a variety of impairments and limitations with the goal of achieving functional outcomes; Ground Lessons, $20 per ½ hour unmounted lesson; and WORTH for injured veterans free of charge. During the majority of these classes riders participate in grooming the horse, tacking the horse, mounting, exercises on horseback, dismounting, untacking, cleaning and putting the saddle away.
“The fact that we offer Hippotherapy and are a Premier Accredited Center of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) International is what makes out facility different from other therapeutic facilities,” she explains. To become a rider they must partake in a pre-enrollment visit and complete all forms located on CTRH’s website. Upcoming sessions will take place the week of February 10-March 3 and March 10-March 31.
Because CTRH is non-profit, they rely on donors and sponsors to support 80 percent of the cost of their programming. To donate, you can send a check to CTRH’s facility, 1342 State Route 50, Milford, Ohio, or click “DONATE NOW” on their website. To participate in a sponsorship, you can do a few different things: send an employee team for a volunteer work day, sponsor a horse, donate to the Childress Rodgers Ridership Fund, sponsor a class in their annual Richard Thomas Horse Show, buy bricks in the CTRH Walk of Honor or sponsor a CTRH Special Event. If you are interested in sponsorship call CTRH at 513-831-7050.
Thus far, CTRH has proven to be a success with several children and adults with disabilities according to Rubel. Clients report that their loved ones with disabilities experience many physical benefits from the programs, such as better balance, gait, flexibility, speech and mobility as well as emotional benefits, such as enthusiasm, joy and laughter. “I love the joy and therapeutic benefits our riders experience,” she says. “At CTRH we hope to continue to provide more service to more children and adults with disabilities.”
Upcoming events at CTRH include Horse Camp the week of June 23 and the Annual Richard Thomas Horse Show on August 2. To learn more, visit www.ctrh-online.org.