Back to ETA Home Page    
Equine Therapy Associates Introduction to Vaulting or Driving

Why Should You Enroll in ETA's Intoduction Vaulting or Driving Program?

PATH Int'l. has found that carriage driving is a fast-growing sport in North America, and that it is becoming "increasingly recognized for its therapeutic value." (see http://www.pathintl.org/resources-education/certifications/driving) PATH Int'l. Centers can "use driving as a means to offer students with physical, mental, emotional disabilities the rewards of interacting with a horse or pony while driving from a carriage -- either in a carriage seat or in their own wheelchair, using a carriage specially modified to accommodate wheelchairs. Using a horse or carriage gives participants and alternative to riding, opening up the world of horses to those who many be unable to ride due to weight, balance, physical limitations, fear of heights or other issues." (Ibid.) Of course, our Introduction to Driving Program starts you on this road, giving you the benefit of the vast majority of strength-building, balance, equine, cognitive, psychic, and theoretical benefits of driving, without actually climbing in a carriage.



Learning A Unique
Set of Skills


PATH Int'l. notes that "Therapeutic Driving offers a unique set of skills and benefits, by providing the student with a distinct range of movements and a vast set of motor-sensory experiences. Therapeutic Driving is about imparting knowledge of safety, horses, harnessing and driving skills to children and adults using teamwork. It takes three to five volunteers to make one driving turn out! In addition to therapeutic lessons, drivers with a disability who are interested in competing are welcome at traditional carriage driving competitions, such as pleasure driving and combined driving events, where they compete on an equal footing with able-bodied competitors. As with riding, there are Precautions and Contraindications to Driving." (Ibid.)If you start the process at ETA, you will develop capacities that you never imagined you had, enhance muscles, ligaments and tendons, build balance, and enhance understanding in a friendly environment, while enjoying the fresh air and the warm solicitude of the 20-25 animals on our farm.

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

ETA's Battersea Norfolk teaches a young enthusiast to drive!

All of ETA's students harness their own ponies!

What Subjects does a Student Master in ETA's Introduction to Driving Program?

ETA teaches the PATH Int'l. theoretical driving standards as needed for students and volunteers, as well as the breeds/colors/markings and parts of the equine, equine senses and behavior, feeds and feeding for equines, stable management, health and sickness concerns, including first aide for the equine, and grooming, catching, and lead the equine. With regard to driving theory itself, ETA teaches the purpose, function and use of the harness, the process of harnessing, and the types of vehicles used and their purposes. Our students also learn how to select and evaluate equipment needs for drivers and horses, a theoretical discussion of how to put the equine to the vehicle, using models, how to handle one and two sets of reins on a rein board, and how to clean, care for, and maintain driving equipment and harnesses, as well as how to look for areas of stress on the vehicle and harness.


Caduceus Nicholas, sire of ETA's Battersea Norfolk
Photo Credit: My Star Photography, Moneta, VA 24121

You Will Learn Horsemanship Skills and Theory

Introduction to Driving Students are also invited to study issues of blemishes and unsoundness in analyzing equines that might be trained for driving, and they study the theoretical basis for selecting and training a driving equine, focusing especially on the characteristics of a good driving equine, as well as the process of conditioning and maintaining a driving equine. Moreover, our Introduction to Driving clients study horsemanship skills, including all safety skills, the proper mounting and dismounting process (including the emergency stops and dismounts), body positioning, the gaits of the equine, the use of the aides, ring figures, control, and the unique psychological bond between equines and humans. This theoretical work also offers a wonderful introduction to our Therapeutic Riding focus and a Therapeutic Horsemanship focus at ETA.
BT072512