Programs – Adaptive Horsemanship
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Program #4: Adaptive Horsemanship
OASIS Horsemanship Program began in the Summer of 2011, partnering with Coleman Farm, Honeoye, NY. The goal for this program is to provide an environment where the Veteran can have a safe and fun time with horses. Through this course, the Veteran learns and understands sound riding and horse management skills. Horsemanship is a combination of learning how to ride a horse and what is involved in taking care of a horse. The outcome goals for this program are similar to the independence goals previously described (see PROGRAMS-What We Do section).

There can be a total of 10 Veterans in each session (5 at each venue) and each Vet will be scheduled for up to 12 lessons. Lessons will run for approximately 1 hour but will vary according to each participant’s needs, abilities, and physical condition. Each session will include both dismounted and mounted instruction. There is a weight limit of 200 lbs. for riding the horses.

Due to the success of the Horsemanship Program, in 2015 we added a second facility to our program.

Coleman Farm, 4690 White Rd. in Livonia/Honeoye. This is a small farm owned by a couple with many years of teaching horsemanship and riding. There are several excellent lesson horses appropriate for beginners. Participants have the opportunity to experience riding on trails as soon as they are comfortable. This facility does not have the capacity to handle the more physically challenged Veterans; however, they have worked successfully with disabilities such as MS as long as the individual can stand well enough to mount a horse. As there is no indoor arena, weather is a major determining factor for when lessons can be scheduled. In general, the program will start as soon as weather conditions allow, usually the end of April or the first of May and run over the next few months for a total of 12 lessons.

Hillrise Equestrian Center, 1624 Walworth Penfield Rd., Walworth. This facility is much larger with an indoor arena. In addition, they have many more lesson horses so participants will have an opportunity to ride several different horses, if desired. Hillrise can work with more severely disabled Vets, such as amputees, spinal cord injuries, and visually impaired. They currently host a program called “Everybody Rides.” All lessons will be in an arena as there are no trails at this facility. The opportunity for group lessons is also available. Lessons usually begin the end of March. We will offer 6 weeks in the spring and an additional 6 weeks in the fall, starting in September. Lessons days and times vary based on Vet and instructor schedules. They are one hour long.

Goals and expectations for this program are as follows:
  • Participants will become comfortable handling a gentle horse
  • Learn safety rules that apply to all areas of working with horses both dismounted and mounted
  • Learn how to put on a halter and lead
  • Learn basic grooming skills including cleaning feet
  • Learn how to tack/untack the horse as well as basic tack care
  • Learn how to mount and adjust stirrups with help as needed
  • Be able to walk maintaining a correct position and when comfortable, trot, maintaining balance and a correct position.
  • The participants will be asked to state their goals after the 3 or 4th lesson