Therapeutic Riding At Centenary (TRAC) is a PATH International – Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International – premier accredited center serving North and Central New Jersey.
TRAC is housed at the Centenary Equestrian Center, 40 Califon Road, Long Valley on Schooley’s Mountain. The center serves children and adults with a variety of disabilities from the surrounding area. It also offers volunteer opportunities to local high school students and others interested in assisting riders with disabilities.
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 – 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 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.
About the Training Program
TRAC is also home to an approved training course for PATH. Instructors in Training (ITs) prepare for certification by completing two semesters of course work. Course work covers a number of disabling conditions and the theory of how to adapt the riding situation for the individual needs of each client. A two-semester instruction practicum is required to gain the instructional skills needed to meet PATH’s standards: this comprises practice teaching and 25 hours of supervised instruction in therapeutic riding. ITs are then qualified to take the certification examination offered by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International. http://www.PATHIntl.org
The PATH-Approved Instructor Training program is directed by Karen Brittle, Assistant Professor of Equine Studies at Centenary University. Karen is a PATH Advanced Instructor.
Volunteering at TRAC
All therapeutic riding programs rely on volunteers to assist in lessons. Experienced horse people are asked to lead horses and assist in getting them ready for lessons an putting them away afterwards. People with little to no experience around horses can assist by acting as side walkers – some riders require a leader and two side walkers for safety reasons.
Orientation and training sessions are help regularly for new volunteers to learn how to become part of the treatment team. This involves watching an informative video, becoming familiar with various aspects of the TRAC program, and filling out required paperwork. For more information, contact Karen Brittle at Karen.Brittle@centenaryuniversity.edu or (908) 852-1400, x 2174.