SIRA receives over 100 e-mails and phone calls a week asking for more information. We can't answer all questions here but hopefully this page will answer many of them. If you need any further information, please contact our office at 718-981-9251 or email the program director.
How can I get into your therapeutic riding program?
The process is easy. When a call or request is received by us, we can instruct you to download an application. If you do not have access to the internet, we will be happy to send you the information. The application package includes medical forms, release forms, and information about our services. When we get the forms back, we can than schedule an evaluation. This is done by an appropriate member of our staff, either a NARHA certified instructor or a licensed therapist. Sometimes it is both. Once accepted, a weekly time slot is chosen. If no times are available the rider will be placed on our waiting list. We make every effort to accept riders into our program as quickly as possible.
What happens once I am accepted?
The initial evaluation is used as a basis for creating an individualized plan for the rider. Goals are set for the next 3 months. These may be educational, physical, behavioral, social goals or a combination. Lessons are then planned to achieve these goals. At the end of three months the rider is re-evaluated and new goals are set. If the previous goals have not been met, we assess whether or not the goals were appropriate. If they were, our staff will try different methods to achieve them.
What is a therapeutic session like?
Each session is designed for the specific need of the rider. All riders must wear ASTM\SEI approved riding helmets for all activities. The center has several available. We have a specially designed mounting ramp to make it easier for both the rider and horse to achieve safe mounting. Session usually begin with stretching activities and then progress to activities planned around the rider's goals. These may include activities for gross and fine motor skills games to improve attention, or obstacle courses through our sensory awareness trail, etc.
Does your center have other activities? (ie. Horse boarding, public riding, etc. )
This is one of our most commonly asked questions especially by our clients who have participated in other programs. The feed back is that these types of places are too distracting for the clients we serve. SIRA is SOLELY a therapeutic riding center. Many of our board members are horse owners themselves and as we all know, these facilities tend to be very busy especially on the weekends. Our main objective is to provide our clients with the safest, most efficient, and enjoyable atmosphere possible. Our instructors and therapist are constantly working to provide our clients with new and exciting ways to achieve their goals. Over the last 4 years and the hundreds of particpants we served, we have found this approach to be the most beneficial for our population. We will contine on this course into the future.
Does your program need volunteers?
Most therapeutic riding centers would not exist without volunteers. Our association is made up of solely volunteers with the exception of our therapists and instructors. (Although they donate a great deal of time outside of their sessions). If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please see our volunteer page to find out how you can help.
Who are the clients you serve?
Clients come from the community, schools, rehabilitation centers. We receive many recommendations from Occupational, physical, and speech therapists in our area. We work very closely with many of Staten Islands agencies for the handicapped. Our clients start from age 3 to 21 yrs. Individuals with the following disabilities have benefited from our services: Strokes, head injuries, cerebral palsy, arthritis, emotional problems, vision impairments, autism, ADD, ADHD,Aspergers syndrome, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, Spina Bifida, limb deformities, amputation, as well as many others. If you are not sure if our services would be beneficial to you, please call and speak to a staff member.
What are the costs?
SIRA is solely dedicated to providing therapeutic horseback riding activities for individuals regardless of their ability to pay. The participants are charged a small fee. This fee covers less than 1/3 of the cost of operation. Funding for this program comes from fundraisers, special events, individual and corporate donations, and legislative grants. Please call our office for further information.