Horse therapy program grows to include instruction

Horse therapy program grows to include instruction
Instructor Bill Schoenecker helps volunteer Faith Miller, 10, of Oceanside, as she tries her hand at bridling a horse. Ivey Ranch Park programs are supported through fundraisers and donations. Photo by Promise Yee

OCEANSIDE — Ivey Ranch Park equestrian center is known for its horse therapy lessons that help the disabled, now it is teaching others how to do the same. 

“The big thing we’re doing right now is twofold accreditation and an education series,” Tanya Danielly, Ivey Ranch Park executive director, said.

The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International accredited center now trains therapy instructors and provides workshops on how to run a horse therapy program.

Horse therapy helps those with multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, stroke, spina bifida, autism, Down syndrome, mental retardation and other disorders.

Activities are structured to provide engaging experiences that require participants to take initiative, make decisions and gain results.

The center also offers riding lessons to able-bodied riders.

Through the years the equestrian program has grown in its number of horses, barns and riding arenas.

Ivey Ranch Park ranks in the top 5 percent of United States equestrian centers in safety and management.

Next year it will host a four-day regional conference that draws more than 100 participants from California, Nevada and Hawaii.

The center also provides childcare for disabled and able-bodied children.

Its childcare program is especially designed to meet the needs of disabled toddlers through children up to age 18.

Fine and gross motor skills, language development, social and living skills and pre-academics are taught.

Ivey Ranch Park Association leases 10 acres of city land in exchange for the daycare and equestrian services it provides to disabled and low-income children and riders.

Its programs are supported through fundraisers and donations.

Councilman Jack Feller has been a longtime supporter of Ivey Ranch Park. He participated in the center’s annual golf marathon fundraiser for 10 years and later raised an additional $18,000 by asking donors to pledge contributions for each pound he lost. He dropped 55 pounds during the weight loss fundraiser.

“I have to credit all the people who doubted I could lose weight or ended up paying,” Feller said. “It was a great success.”

Feller said he became a supporter of Ivey Ranch when he learned about its daycare program for special needs children, many who need 24/7 care.

“I believe in the respite it gives parents who are so desperate for a free moment to themselves or to get things done,” he said. “The daycare is a great idea. It’s pretty amazing as far as I’m concerned.”

“Now they do so much more, able-bodied and disabled training, a place for people to volunteer,” he added. “It’s a terrific place, I’m glad we have it here.”

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