Hackettstown, N.J., December 6, 2017 – Lucy, a therapeutic riding horse at Centenary University, has been named Region Two Horse of the Year by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH). Lucy is a 26 year old registered American Quarter Horse with the official name of Strings O Stardust. Lucy is one of five horses that is part of the therapeutic riding program, which is housed at the University’s Equestrian Center in Long Valley, N.J., and has offered equine assisted activities to its clients since the program began in 2003. Lucy was nominated by two of Centenary’s TRAC clients for her ability to work with students with special needs.
“Lucy started as a Western Reining competition horse and we purchased her from a sales barn when Centenary’s TRAC (Therapeutic Riding at Centenary) program first began,” says Octavia J. Brown, Professor of Equine Studies and Director for Therapeutic Riding at Centenary.
According to one mom, “Lucy was the first being in my daughter’s new life that she completely trusted. Initially, my daughter would bounce around the saddle, haul on the reins and try to jump off. When the instructor would let her know that Lucy didn’t like her behavior, an immediate response of better behavior would transpire.”
This student is now a model therapeutic riding student and Lucy’s photo is always with her as a reminder of her best friend. The student has remarked that Lucy “talks” to her, according to her mother, though not in words. She says that Lucy talks by using her ears, eyes, expression and calmness to communicate.
Another client says that “the best gift that Lucy gives me and all of her riders is self-confidence and happiness to deal with the problems of everyday life.”
Therapeutic horseback riding offers a variety of benefits for children and adults with disabilities. As a physical activity, sitting on a moving horse causes the rider’s upper body to respond to the movement of the horse in a three-dimensional manner. The rhythm of 80 to 100 steps each minute stimulates reflexes and balance reactions in a way that cannot be duplicated by the human therapist. On the psychological and emotional level, the thrill of being seated on a horse or pony that is trained to respond willingly to the rider’s signals is a powerful benefit. As a form of cognitive therapy, the rider learns to relate to the space of the riding arena, including other riders and special equipment, and interact with his horse to navigate safely.
For more information about Centenary University’s TRAC program, please call (908) 852-1400, ext. 2174.
Founded in 1867 by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church, Centenary University’s academic program integrates a solid liberal arts foundation with a strong career orientation. This mix is designed to provide an educational experience that prepares students to succeed in the increasingly global and interdependent world.
Centenary University’s main campus is located in Hackettstown, N.J., with its equestrian facility in Washington Township (Morris County). The Centenary School of Professional Studies offers degree programs online and in two locations: Parsippany and Edison, online, as well as corporate sites throughout New Jersey.