Their motto says it all -“Horses that Heal and Hearts that Care.” For several years now, students and volunteers from Right Path Riding Academy have been demonstrating that motto at the Cushing Community PRCA Rodeo. It is something they all look forward to each year.
Right Path Riding Academy, located on a cattle ranch south of Drumright, Oklahoma, is an organization created to help those with special needs enjoy the benefits of therapeutic horseback riding and cart driving. Founded in 1996 by Leslie Kirkland, a registered physical therapist, Right Path Riding Academy has been instrumental in helping special needs children achieve their highest potential – physically, emotionally and cognitively – through the unique avenue of horseback riding and other equine-assisted activities.
Kirkland’s unique perspective as a healthcare professional and as a person living with Multiple Sclerosis provides passionate leadership to the program’s volunteers and riders.
Therapeutic riding is much more than giving a kid a ride on a horse. This proven form of therapy provides the rider with a sense of unimpaired mobility due to the gait of the horse closely matching the gait of a human. The side to side movement of the horse constantly changes the rider’s center of gravity. These movements benefit the rider’s balance, strength, posture and mobility.
Students of The Right Path Riding Academy are said to come away with an added sense of belonging and pride after their performance at the Rodeo, which is why it is such an important event – not only to them, but to the volunteers who work with them.
Right Path Riding Academy is located at 16620 Old Shamrock Highway, Drumright, OK. For more information, visit their website at www.rightpathridingacademy.org or call 918-352- 4110.