Therapeutic Horse-riding

Therapeutic Horse-riding is a goal-focused intervention for people with a wide range of physical, emotional, cognitive and sensory disabilities which sessions are delivered by professional, qualified Therapeutic Horse-riding Coaches. Sessions are one-to-one and each session is planned and structured to meet the needs of every individual rider.

After an initial assessment, and in consultation with other professionals if necessary (e.g. O.T., Physio, SLT, etc) the TR coach creates a plan to facilitate specific improvements in the rider. The goals set for each rider at the first session are continuously revisited and adjusted as the rider progresses.

Designed  To Be Inclusive And Progressive​​

During a Therapeutic Horse-riding session, the coach constantly checks and corrects the rider’s alignment and balance to ensure that he/she is getting maximum physical benefit from the session. At the same time, the rider is being gently challenged to work on other goals, such as communication skills, literacy and numeracy, social skills, sensory awareness, and behavioural issues.

Therapeutic Horse-riding sessions are carried out using a roller and pad, or bareback, rather than in a saddle so that the full impact of the horse’s movement and warmth can positively influence the rider’s body.

The multi-dimensional movement of the horse’s hips and pelvis works on the rider’s balance, posture, tone, core strength, and body and spatial awareness, etc. As the rider interacts with and responds to the horse’s movement, therapy goals can be met more swiftly and efficiently than through more traditional methods.

Therapeutic Horse-riding does not involve teaching mainstream riding skills. The horse or pony is always led by a trained and competent person. One or more trained and competent side-walkers may also be involved, if necessary.

Each individual on the ground during a Therapeutic Horse-riding session has a specific role – Coach, Leader, Side-walker, Session Helper.


The initial assessment then €40 per 30-minute private session

Sponsored places are available from time to time.

Horses Connect Special Olympics Equestrian Club

Special Olympics Equestrian comprises a number of different events and levels based on the ability of the athlete. Those athletes who compete in the equestrian events learn to ride, develop sports skills and gain the self-confidence to direct and control a horse, in a fun and inclusive atmosphere, with the support of our amazing team of trained volunteers.

Special Olympics Equestrian comprises a number of different events and levels based on the ability of the athlete. 

Our Club meets on

  • Saturday afternoons at 2.30pm


  • Western Stables, Ballagh Rd, Bushypark, Galway