An important part of any Hawaii vacation is getting into the outdoors to enjoy the staggering beauty of the natural landscape. Nestled at the foot of the towering Koolau Mountains in Waimanalo on Oahu’s eastern shore, Therapeutic Horsemanship of Hawaii (THH) is a terrific way to do just that. THH also has a related program near Kailua-Kona on Hawaii Island.
Accredited by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International, Therapeutic Horsemanship of Hawaii specializes in teaching special needs children and adults not only how to ride, but also how to groom, feed, and care for the horse. THH also offers instruction to children and adults of all abilities.
Participants learn the basic of equestrian care, from grooming, saddling, feeding, and riding, to developing a rapport with the animal and understanding the subtle ways in which horses communicate with their riders.
THH stables 17 horses, of all sizes. All of THH’s instructors are trained to select a horse most appropriate for a new rider. New participants begin lessons on their own, but are moved into a group session as quickly as possible. New riders are able to learn more quickly when riding in a group, watching and interacting with other riders.
THH is often asked if parents can ride with their child, and although that is allowed on certain occasions, because children and adults learn equestrianism in very different ways, THH does not do regular lessons with parents and their children. There is a comfortable viewing area for parents to watch their children ride, but THH stresses that it is important that young riders are not distracted by their parents while riding.
Therapeutic Horsemanship of Hawaii also has a volunteer program for those who would like to help others while experiencing the unique bond between a horse and rider. As safety is the primary concern, becoming a volunteer takes time, and the mastery of a 12-page volunteer manual. And while the horses at THH are selected specifically for their gentle temperament and familiarity with riders, they can still be spooked by sudden movements and other things that may startle them. Volunteers are trained to handle any situation that may present a danger to the rider or volunteer.
On Saturday, May 17, 2014, Therapeutic Horsemanship Hawaii will hold its annual Horse Show & Country Fair Fundraiser. Because the costs of running the program exceed revenue from riding fees, THH holds this fundraiser each year to offset the costs of caring for the animals, maintaining equipment, and the many other requirements of running a fully accredited horsemanship program.
THH also conducts a series of four sessions of Summer Horse Camps for children aged 8-18. Each session lasts over four days, with riders being at the facility from 8:15am – 2:45pm.
For more information about Therapeutic Horsemanship Hawaii’s programs for children and adults, visit www.thhwaimanalo.org.
As a registered 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization, donations made to Therapeutic Horsemanship Hawaii are tax deductible.