PIKE CREEK – In case you missed it, earlier this week, NBC10’s Delaware reporter Tim Furlong filmed a segment on New Castle County’s Therapeutic Riding Program (TROT). Filmed on location at Carousel Park & Equestrian Center, the segment featured Wayne Marsh, a horseback rider who happens to be visual impaired. The segment aired on NBC 10 at 4:50 PM.
“We have 250 great New Castle County Government parks that add so much to our community,” said County Executive Matt Meyer. “We also have created programs that are transforming lives, enabling Delawareans to see the world and their own lives in new ways. Thank you to the extraordinary Carousel Park staff, all the barn workers, our partners BlindSight Delaware, the Delaware Lions Club and the Wilmington VA Medical Center, and Tim Furlong and NBC10 Philadelphia for telling this story.”
Furlong interviewed Wayne, and Elyssa Doner, Carousel’s Equestrian Program Supervisor. Wayne rides on Tuesday mornings from 11am-12pm. The segment can be found on NBC 10’s Website, or by clicking here.
The TROT (Therapeutic Riding and Ongoing Training) program at Carousel Park is committed to enhancing the lives of individuals with physical, cognitive, and social/emotional special needs. TROT offers a safe, enriching environment for individuals ages 4 and older to participate in horseback riding lessons and equine-assisted learning (EAL) activities.
Participants in the TROT program engage in a team approach to learning horsemanship skills. Participants develop a relationship with a PATH Intl. certified riding instructor, a team of volunteers, and a carefully selected therapy horse. The union creates an opportunity for individuals to reach beyond their diagnoses, improve their physical, cognitive, and social/emotional skills, and experience the joy of connecting with horses.
Special needs served by the TROT program include traumatic injuries, anxiety/depression autism, cerebral palsy, developmental delay, down syndrome, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, sensory disorders, stroke, and many more.
Benefits to participants include:
Physical: Horses rhythmically and naturally move their bodies in a manner similar to the human gait. As a result, horseback riding improves posture, balance, and muscle control for students with limitations in trunk control, range of motion or fine/gross motor skills. Participants experience improved strength, balance, and coordination, which often leads to more independence at home, work, or school.
Cognitive: To effectively communicate with their equine partner, TROT participants must process sensory information, recognize patterns (e.g., of behaviors/reactions from the horse), sustain attention, think sequentially, problem-solve, and utilize working, short-term and long-term memory. Participants can take these practiced skills and apply them to daily living.
Social/Emotional: By nature, horseback riding requires self/body awareness, social awareness, relationship skills (empathy, compassion)), self-management (emotional regulation), and responsible decision-making. In addition, the TROT program offers riders an opportunity to safely participate in a recognized sport. This encourages independence, increases self-confidence, and nurtures a positive self-image in the arena and in life.