Equine Therapy

Check out an article published in this months Cowboys & Indians about William Shatners participation in equine therapy. View Article

Or check out another great article Raising Funds/Raising Hopes. View Article

Equine Assisted Activities

Equine Therapy

Actor Beau Bridges & Dennis Amaral at recent fundraiser for Equine TherapyAntonia Amaral became interested in Equine Therapy while participating in horseback riding lessons and doing some research on the subject. She became very excited about how effective this kind of therapy has been in helping people of all ages overcome physical problems. She shared this information with her husband, Dennis, and it wasn't until he participated on a cattle drive that he experienced first hand what she had been describing to him. 

Dennis Amaral of the Rockin’ A Ranch became interested in the benefits of horse human therapy and horse assisted activities when he participated in his first cattle drive. While participating as a guest on the Reno Rodeo Cattle Drive he saw first hand how some of the younger participants who were from larger cities started the 60 mile drive with an 'attitude' and a chip on their shoulder.

About half way through the four and a half day event a metamorphosis began to occur as these youngsters began to realize that working 'together' to accomplish a common goal was a whole lot better than 'doin' it alone'.

They began to build camaraderie with the professional 'cowboys' that were there to assist the greenhorns and started to open their eyes, drop the defensive armor they had worn for such a long time, and began building relationships with the other cowboys and cowgirls on the drive but amazingly with their horses as well.

It doesn't take long for a city slicker to realize when you are out in the middle of the Nevada wilderness, sixty miles from the nearest facility, that you had better respect your horse or get used to walking real fast, and you had better learn to work as a team because 300 head of cattle are difficult to drive all by yourself.

Horses are non-judgmental animals that can sense the true person they are with. You can't con a horse, they can see right through you. When this bond begins to occur Dennis saw amazing transformations and got him to researching the area of Equine Assisted Activities and Equine Therapy.

Some of the photos you see here on this page are of young people with learning, physical and mental disabilities who have received enormous help by participating in professional equestrian therapy activities. Dennis and Antonia are supporters of the Hollywood Charity Horse Show, which is sponsored by the actor William Shatner and supported by many actors and actresses. This fundraiser donates all of its proceeds to assist in equine therapy as well as fund continuing research in the field. The photos The smile speaks for itself.you see here are from the 2009 fundraiser and by placing your mouse over the photo it will give you the names of the actors and information about the participants. Willy Nelson was very gracious to participate and perform to the attendees of the event.

Equine Therapy assists a young man.In the Wikipedia online encyclopedia it reads, "The student who interacts with their horse may extend this to others and to form meaningful relationships with people. Building a relationship with an animal is very rewarding in many aspects; for a person with emotional, social or psychological disability, the trust and loyalty of an animal demonstrates to the student how important they are and then they may extend these attributes to personal relationships. Horses also help people feel in control of their situation because there is a direct correlation between action and reaction. To learn how to care for and ride a horse, a student must also be able to communicate efficiently with the horse and the instructor. 2 year old with severe mental disabilities responds to therapy.In this way, riding is a very social activity, but is less daunting to people who are uncomfortable in social situations. Riding [or just working with horses] helps to empower people and enables them to connect on a personal level. The sometimes unpredictable nature of animals and situations also creates a real-life environment in which students will be able to confront fears and make adjustments to situations beyond their control." 

Actor Leonard Nimoy of Star Trek fame at Equine Therapy fundraiser.The idea of using horses in therapeutic situations is not a new one; it has been used for decades and originated in Germany. Originally it was used in conjunction with physicians and physiotherapists to address the strength and orthopedic dysfunction for a patient. Now it is used much more widely and extends far beyond the physical limitations of an individual but can and is used to address the social issues that also contribute to dysfunction.

Dennis and his wife Antonia have begun to provide a facility that is conducive to Equine Assisted Activities because they realized that the majority of parents do not have the facilities and ability to provide an equestrian atmosphere suited for such needs.

Hero's star Zachary Quinto at Equine Therapy fundraiser.The Rockin' A Ranch is an ideal 80 acre ranch that can accommodate and provide the environment to promote such therapeutic interactions. One of the activities that they engage their visitors in is the care, maintenance and workouts with the horses. This begins to create a bonding between the visitor and the animals. Trust develops between the human and the equine that can be much easier to develop than between them and their own piers.

A favorite activity is the wagon ride where a trained, professional teamster will load the visitors in a wagon and take them on a ride around the ranch. Not only does this provide a sense of trust that the animal can pull the wagon but the instructors also insert the historical aspects of overland travel during the 1800's when thousands of emigrants transversed the continent to the gold fields that the Rockin' A Ranch is surrounded by.

Please feel free to contact us about the various programs we offer throughout the year. It is important to plan early as we need to facilitate the visitors with the trained Equine Therapists and Equine associated activities.

Antonia Amaral, William Shatner with his wife Elizabeth Anderson Martin.For 20 + years William Shatner has been promoting the Hollywood Charity Horse Show to raise funds for Equine Therapy. Each year an exhibition is held, 500 guests are invited, and a renown entertainer is invited to perform. 100% of all funds from this event goes to support Equine Therapy centers in the Los Angeles area. This year Dennis & Antonia Amaral were invited to attend and learn more about the benefits of this type of therapy. Take a look at some of the Hollywood stars who turned out and contributed to this charity in support the continuation of Equine Therapy.

Tim Allen and his wife Jane Hajduk supporters of Equine Therapy. Willie Nelson performs for the 500 visitors at the fundraiser for Equine Therapy.Barbara Eden & Dennis Amaral at the Hollywood Charity Horse Show supporting Equine Therapy.

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