CKRH, which started as a grass-roots effort in 1981, is located at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. We are a Premier Accredited Center of PATH Int’l (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International), and our mission is to enrich the community by improving the quality of life and health of individuals with special physical, cognitive, emotional or social needs through therapeutic activities with the horse.
In 2012, CKRH assisted more than 300 participants (unduplicated)throughEquine Assisted Activities & Therapies (EAAT), an umbrella term which includes the range of equine activities/therapies designed for people with disabilities or diverse needs. They include:
Therapeutic Riding (TR), mounted traditional riding disciplines or adaptive riding activities conducted by a certified instructor in private or group lessons. Activities are designed to meet each participant’s needs and may focus on fine/gross motor skills development, balance, strength or coordination. An alternative for individuals unable to ride (due to contraindications) is Therapeutic Driving.
Hippotherapy (HPOT), mounted physical/occupational/speech therapies that utilize equine movement. Services are provided by a licensed therapist or speech/language pathologist in partnership with Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital.
Equine Facilitated Mental Health (EFMH), non-mounted equine assisted activities and therapies with a focus on mental health issues. Led by a licensed/credentialed mental health professional in conjunction with a credentialed equine professional, examples include psychotherapy, marriage/family counseling and bereavement therapy. CKRH partners with the Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center to provide psycho-educational services to adult survivors of sexual trauma; St. James Place to provide psycho-educational services to Military Veterans and Hospice of the Bluegrass with the Healing Hooves bereavement retreat.
Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL), non-mounted equine activities which incorporate equine/human interaction to promote emotional growth and develop life/social skills. We partner with many public and private schools to provide these services. CKRH is home to a full time Fayette County Public School, The STABLES. The STABLES is a community collaboration that focuses on career readiness for middle and high school children. CKRH partners with the Kentucky National Guard to teach skills in resiliency to soldiers.
Therapeutic Horsemanship (TH), mounted and non-mounted equine activities which develop skills in horse care, handling or riding. Participants’ equine skills progress while improving cognitive, emotional, social and behavioral abilities. Activities include Horse-Master lessons, US Pony Club curriculum and occasional horse show competitions.
CKRH offers all of the above serves to military service members, veterans and their families through our Equine Services for Heroes Program.
CKRH currently serves 12 Central Kentucky counties with the help of about 30 horses,
7 full-time and 3 part-time staff members, 3 licensed therapists and more than 170 weekly volunteers.
In addition to our partners noted above, CKRH provides clinical/intern opportunities for UK Health Sciences, Eastern Kentucky University, Asbury University, Markey Cancer Center and Midway College Equine Program.
By the fall of 2011, CKRH's new $4.1 million facility, which has an indoor arena that enables services to be offered year-round, was completed. The facility – called the John A. and Virginia Creech Therapeutic Riding Center – includes:
- 24 acres with paddocks, automatic watering systems and outdoor arena.
- More than 50,000 square feet under one roof with an arena, stalls, wash racks, tack room, storage, offices and meeting space, etc.
- Attwood Equestrian Surfaces footing, a dust-free product that does not need water as footing in the indoor arena.
- Multiple lift systems that enable riders using a wheelchair to move from their wheelchair to horseback with ease.
- Education Center with two classrooms, a therapy room; two observation areas; staff offices; a small conference room and a kitchen.
Additional helpful terminology:
PATH, Intl. Premiere Accredited Center - A member center that has been successfully evaluated to be in compliance with PATH, INTL. standards.
PATH, Intl. Certified Instructor – An instructor of therapeutic horsemanship who is certified by PATH, Intl. at the Registered, Advanced or Master level. At CKRH, certified instructors have completed specialized educational training to ensure competency in the areas of disabilities, recreational therapeutic activities, instructional abilities, horsemanship and equine safety.
Educator - An educator/teacher licensed or sanctioned by the state, school district, department of education or equivalent designation.
PATH, Intl. Registered Therapist – A licensed therapist or therapist assistant (PT, OT, SLP, COTA, PTA) who has registered with PATH, Intl. upon completion of the American Hippotherapy Association, Inc. approved hippotherapy coursework and the requisite number of hours of practice in hippotherapy.
Mental Health Professional – A licensed and/or credentialed medical professional who specializes in the treatment of individuals with psychiatric, psychological, emotional or behavioral diagnoses.
Horse handler, horse expert, equine professional, horse leader, equine specialist – Terms which may be used to indicate the person handling the equine during a session and/or training and conditioning the equine for participation in equine assisted activities. Usage may vary by discipline. The HPOT session where a horse is long lined might have a horse handler, whereas, the person leading the horse in a therapeutic riding lesson may be the horse leader.
Therapeutic - An activity is therapeutic if a participant derives benefit, shows improvement or feels better once engaged. An activity can be therapeutic without being considered as therapy. In general, Equine Assisted Activities may be described as therapeutic, but they are not therapy or is not considered treatment without fulfilling specific requirements. (See Therapy, defined below)
Therapy – Claims of providing therapy or treatment, or billing for services with a third party, may be done only by a licensed/credentialed professional such as a PT, OT, SLP, psychologist, social worker, MD, among others.