Equine Therapy and Riding Program

The rolling fields and winding trails of the Youth Villages Inner Harbour Campus provide a peaceful setting for the development of a meaningful, positive relationship with a child.

Our professionals utilize the gentleness and strength of the horse to provide a valuable adjunct to the traditional therapy each youth receives. The horse is a living, breathing, therapeutic tool that naturally grabs a youth’s attention and motivates even the most treatment-resistant child. Many times this is the first exposure the resident has to real trust and responsibility – caring for another life in a manner that teaches and develops the resident in a positive manner.

Horses have the capacity to read human emotions with amazing accuracy. They sense trust, uncertainty, fear, happiness, and everything in between. It is in this relationship with a horse the children and adolescents at Inner Harbour begin to trust again and heal.

Not all children immediately trust horses. Hand painting the horses, cleaning the animals and caressing them makes the children slowly build confidence to interact more and more with the gentle, specially trained therapy horses.

Goals for Equine Therapy

  • To facilitate equine experiences for children and adolescents in a therapeutic environment
  • To enable the youth to increase psychosocial development, coping skills and self-esteem
  • To provide youth opportunity to put problem-solving abilities into practice in a real life experience
  • To reacquaint these youth with the true meaning of “trust” and “responsibility”
  • To educate others in the value of therapeutic riding in the treatment of troubled children