The Staten Island Recreational Association Inc. was founded late in 1992 by the late Mr. Lou Caravone, a long time community leader & activist. He and 10 other like minded individuals realized that there was a need to help under funded groups here on Staten Island. The association applied for and received its not-for-profit, 501(c)(3), designation and proceeded to hold different types of functions to raise funds. The net proceeds of these events were then distributed to various programs that were unable to secure funding thru other channels.
The association also hosted many activities for elderly and challenged individuals in the area. On many occasions we bought blocks of tickets to circuses and shows in the area. We continued this venue until late 2004. The times changed and to continue the course we had undertaken became cost prohibitive.
Early in 2005 we came upon an idea that would again allow us to continue to serve the community in a similar way. The H.O.O.P.H. Program was born and continues to grow by leaps and bounds.
The value of horses and riding for disabled individuals has been recognized for centuries. The ancient Greeks used horseback rides to raise the spirits of those considered untreatable or incurable. An 1875 study in Paris concluded that riding could lead to improvements in posture, balance, joint movement, muscle control and morale.
When riding, the human pelvis moves back and forth similar to the way it does when crawling or walking. Riding helps develop the muscles needed for walking. Riding provides physical therapy and motivation that is unmatched in preparing a disabled child to someday walk. When a person is on a horse, constant muscle adjustments are taking place. A horse is never completely stationary and the rider must constantly respond adjusting his balance Rhythm is added as soon as the horse begins to walk. Adapting to this rhythm is fundamental to therapeutic riding. The horse's regular gait is felt as a rocking movement. The adjustment to the rhythmic movement calls upon the use of the joints, simultaneous contraction and relaxation of various muscles and muscle groups. The horse?s movement provides the sensory input of a precise, repetitive pattern of movement very similar to the movement of a person?s pelvis during normal human gait. The horse's center of gravity shifts forward and backwards, up and down and side to side just as a human's does.
This movement mobilizes the pelvis, lumbar spine and hip joints. It normalizes muscle tone, develops head and trunk control and improves posture. It also improves symmetry, body awareness, spatial orientation and endurance. It facilitates breathing and has a positive effect on circulation system. The horse provides strong tactile and sensory stimuli. The warmth and movement of the horse will massage, stretch and loosen stiff, contracted muscles.
For many persons with learning disabilities, the horse has also been helpful in breaking through the mysterious veil of autism. Children who have been completely uncommunicative with the world around them for years have responded to the experience of being placed on the back of a therapy horse. Horses seem to bring out the best in them.
There are other benefits we must add, the stimuli received from touching, seeing, hearing, and smelling. Space and objects are seen from a different perspective. Imagine seeing the world from the back of a horse when you are used to seeing it from the level of your chair. And swapping wheels and crutches for four good legs can take them places otherwise inaccessible.
Our program is conducted at the only PATH Intl. Center on Staten Island To Service The Needs Of Children With Disabilities. We don't not offer any other services such as boarding horses so that we can offer you the best service around
Our programs are dedicated in memory of our late founder