There are many benefits to being a pet owner. Animals are truly a blessing to humanity. Reports show pet owners live longer, and are happier people in comparison to those who don’t own pets.
In Rochester animals are well cared for. The animal shelter cares for stray, disowned, and aggressive animals. They provide temporary sheltering for pets whose owners are victims of domestic violence and natural disasters. Animal Control Officers enforce NYS Ordinances to prevent abuse and illegal activities in the city.
The Americans with Disabilities Act defines a service animal as a guide dog or another animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. Physicians in Rochester have been known to instruct patients to get a pet as a form of therapy. Especially for the mentally challenged, horses have become our new best friends.
William and Mildred Levine had a breading ranch in Monroe County that was donated to the North American riding for the Handicapped. From this, the Equestrian Center was formed. Horseback riding is used to help cure sicknesses including gout, neurological disorders and depression.
In a town called Honeoye New York, the EquiCenter facility in its ninth year of programming. The programs help people with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, visual Impairment, downs syndrome, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, stroke and spinal injuries. Participants have expressed positive experiences through therapeutic horseback riding.
The EquiCenter is nationally recognized for its programs with mental health issues and challenging life experiences. In addition the facility provides a special program for our troops called “Heroes and Horses.” The program has received funding and national recognition from the Christopher and Dana Reeve and Bob Woodruff Foundations.
As our wellness is holistic in nature, the EquiCenter also provides a program called “Seeds for Success.” It is a horticulture program were students learn in a peaceful rural environment. Students are taught basic gardening skills and how to harvest as well.
Horses have been used as a therapeutic aid since the ancient Greeks used them for those people who had incurable illnesses. Therapeutic riding dates back to 17th century, where it is documented to cure neurological disorders and low morale.
The term “therapeutic riding” was originally used in Germany to treat improper orthopedic functioning. The physical therapist and the doctor worked together to help the patient reach the necessary goals with a trained horse. The instructor was responsible for caring for the horse. The medical term “hippotherapy” became known in the United States soon after.
Therapeutic riding techniques began with Liz Hartel from Denmark. She suffered from polio and her legs were paralyzed. She found the therapy to increase her ability to use here muscles, and relax her mind. In 1952 she achieved a silver medal for dressage in the Olympic Games. The North American Riding Association for the Handicapped provides therapeutic riding to more than 42,000 disabled persons in the United States and Canada.
In Monroe County New York, the EquiCenter is run by a minimum of 200 volunteer a week. The center is dependent on donations, fundraisers and its loyal volunteers. The success rate has the center growing annually. The hours of training run from Monday to Saturday with a day of grazing for the horses on Sunday. To find out more about becoming a student, donating or becoming a volunteer; visit: http: www.equicenterny.org.