A nonprofit affiliate of Challenge Unlimited, Ironstone Therapy, Inc. employs licensed professional physical and occupational therapists who provide therapeutic intervention for our clients as young as 18 months. Ironstone Therapy, Inc. was established in 1997 as a medically-based physical and occupational therapy service provider and was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) organization in 1998. As a result, numerous partnerships with educational and medical providers were established and in 2000 our first contract with Early Intervention was sealed.
Therapy using the movement of the horse is the primary purpose of the Ironstone Therapy program and is the basis for our Equine-Assisted Therapy philosophy. When riding, the movement of the horse stimulates the sensation of walking for the person in the saddle. Ironstone’s therapists use this unique motion to help clients improve balance and coordination, increase muscle tone, and make gains in strength and stamina – all of which can be difficult to achieve in the classroom or clinic. For the client, therapy is effective and fun! Doctors refer a variety of clients, including those on the autism spectrum, because it can also lead to improved social interactions.
Ninety percent of Ironstone Therapy’s clients are children who are referred by physicians, Early Intervention programs, public schools, and word of mouth. Following referral, a therapy evaluation is conducted and a plan of care is determined. Progress is carefully monitored, documented, and sent to the referring physician or agency monthly. If a child achieves predetermined goals, recommendations are made for more extensive therapy or discharge, in which case the decision can be made for the client to continue riding horses as recreational therapy in the Challenge Unlimited program.