«Return to Blog ListingNMCTR Awarded $30,000 from the Marcia Brady Tucker Foundation

The New Mexico Center for Therapeutic Riding (NMCT) was the recent recipient of a $30,000 grant from the Marcia Brady Tucker Foundation for our School Outreach Program. A special thanks to Will Randell for his advocacy of NMCTR’s effective and data-driven School Outreach Program that provides a low to no-cost PATH Intl-Certified (www.pathintl.org) equine-assisted activities program for under-served, low-income children and youth with disabilities  (autism, developmental delay, learning delays, traumatic brain injury, hearing/sight impaired, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, ADHD, etc.) referred by elementary/middle school special education classrooms from participating Santa Fe schools. 

The School Outreach Program is an empowering and fun, individual-specific weekly lesson related to caring for and riding horses, with proven results in helping students: improve cognitive brain functioning, lung functioning, balance, muscle tone, developing positive connections with horses/peers/adults, experiencing joy, safety around animals, and attaining personalized goals (improved fine and gross motor skills, coordination, concentration, trust, coordination, focus, self-esteem, confidence, and communication skills) while increasing wellness, quality of life, and overall independence in living activities. The School Outreach Program offers services to Santa Fe special education classrooms and helps to close the gap that exists for vulnerable populations in our community who live in poverty and have high disparities (children/youth with disabilities also often exhibit risk factors associated with increased depression, poor impulse control, lack of behavioral self-control/regulation, aggressiveness, hyperactivity/ADHD, antisocial behavior, etc.). The program provides children/youth with disabilities a yearly therapeutic horseback riding program of two 8-week sessions (one session in the Fall and Spring semesters). In each classroom’s session at NMCTR, 8-12 students with disabilities attend horseback riding lessons and other equine-assisted activities for 1.5 hours a week. In their weekly lessons, each student works on individual-specific physical, cognitive, social, and emotional goals created in collaboration between NMCTR’s certified riding instructor (CRI) and the child’s special education teacher. Students learn horseback riding skills that integrate physical activity and social/emotional learning skill development, thereby reducing stress and increasing protective factors that mitigate depression, poor health, and other negative outcomes. By increasing physical fitness, self-confidence, and overall mental and physical well-being in underserved youth/children with special needs, NMCTR “Changes Lives One Stride at a Time.”