There are several general criteria used in selecting therapy horses; age, health, training, size, and temperament etc. – the most emphasis is placed on temperament, health (being sound), and training.
Each program center has it’s own unique requirements for it’s horses. We are no different at Ride To Fly.
When we go to look at a horse, we try to have representatives from all our groups to get as many observations and opinions as possible about the animal in question. Instructors, Wranglers, Board Members, and our Horse Committee all try to be represented.
For us the horse can be a gelding (a neutered male) or a mare (a female). It can be between 13 and 15 or so hands tall (a hand is 4” – as an example, a 15 hand horse is 60” or 5 ft. at the withers, where the neck and body meet on the back). We like them to be between the ages of 14 and 20 yrs. old. We do take older horses in good health. Good health is a must – a sound horse walks, trots, and canters well, has no major medical problems, and can do the work required of it. Horses that are relatively healthy usually have fairly even temperaments. A well trained, easy going horse is willing to do it’s best for you. We accept either English or Western discipline horses.
All of this makes for a good, safe, environment for all concerned – horses, volunteers, and most importantly, clients. The horses at Ride To Fly have all these attributes – they must – they are carrying our most valuable population – our clients.