Progress is carefully monitored, documented and sent to the referring physician or agency monthly. Riding a horse simulates people’s normal walking movements, encouraging strengthened trunk control, improved balance and coordination, normalized muscle tone and increased stamina. Doctors refer a variety of clients, including those on the autism spectrum, because it can lead to improved social interactions.
Ironstone Therapy was established in 1997 as 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. For a person straddling a walking horse, the movement of the horse provides the sensation of walking and moving forward through space, and the rider needs to respond to these movements. This means that a person who cannot walk or who has difficulty walking can experience the sensation of walking and respond to those movements simply by riding a horse.
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 are difficult to achieve in the classroom or clinic. For the client therapy is effective and fun.
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 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 a recreational therapy in the Challenge Unlimited program.