Changing Lives with Therapeutic Riding of Tucson
About 18 years ago, our Vice President Paula Madden, learned about Therapeutic Riding of Tucson (TROT), and, upon invitation, immediately joined the TROT board of directors. She served on the board for eight years, took a break for five years and then joined up again for five years and counting.
What would inspire her to make such a long-standing commitment? “It’s a beautiful, magical, peaceful place where autistic children have been moved to speak their first word and veterans with war injuries have discovered a new way to reclaim their mobility,” Paula said.
Founded in 1974, TROT enriches the lives of people with special needs using horse-assisted activities and therapies to improve physical, mental, social and emotional well-being.
TROT provides therapeutic riding instruction to adults and children with a wide range of physical and cognitive disabilities. More than 85 percent of TROT’s clients are school aged children (K-12) with cerebral palsy, developmental delay, Down syndrome, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, hearing/vision impairments, autism or other needs.
Adults served include those in a special program called Heroes on Horses for U.S. military veterans with disabilities such as spinal cord injury, amputated limbs, traumatic brain injury and/or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The results can be life-changing, not only for the disabled but also for their families. TROT instructors set several different goals for the participant including physical goals to improve muscular strength and control, balance, posture, coordination and language/speech skills. Riders often experience an exciting degree of self-discovery, including the development of trust and confidence, willingness to try new things and improved interaction with family, friends and acquaintances. A well-trained and coordinated network of more than 200 volunteers assist weekly in programs and facility operations Monday through Saturday.
TROT is distinguished as a Premier Accredited Center by PATH International (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship). Only 15 percent of PATH centers in North America have achieved this level of accreditation.
TROT is always looking for volunteers to either walk alongside the participants or help to tack, train and care for the horses. Another way to get involved is to attend the upcoming Hearts & Horses Gala event on April 9 at Ventana Canyon, which will feature live and silent auctions and a presentation by a family whose life has been changed with help from TROT. The Horsin’ Around country hoedown event, also hosted by TROT, will be held later in the year.
Donations are appreciated at any time. TROT relies greatly on the generosity of its donors to support its riding programs, the care and feeding of horses and to provide scholarships for those who qualify. We welcome you to join Paula and our bank in supporting this wonderful organization.
Want to help us get the word out about TROT? Please feel free to link to this article. If you would like to make a gift or add your name to the TROT mailing list, call 520 749-2360 x600.
TROT is located on Tucson’s east side at 8920 East Woodland Road. Click at www.trotarizona.org.
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