BY NASTASSIA PUTZ, PUBLISHER
REINS Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapies began in 1982 by a group of students from Lakeshore Technical Institute in Sheboygan, Wis. The acronym REINS stands for Riders (Participants) being Encouraged, Inspired, Nurtured and above all Successful. At first this organization was created to provide recreation and exercise to those with special needs. In 2013-14 it began to evolve into the program that many are familiar with today: A non-profit organization with two forms of equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAAT) known to improve the lives of those with special needs through interactions with horses.
“We are accredited by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) International and our instructors are certified in therapeutic riding instruction and/or equine specialists in mental health and learning,” says Theresa Zimmermann, executive director. “This level of expertise allows us to offer a range of equine-assisted activities and therapies to our clients.”
Therapeutic Riding & Equine-Assisted Learning
The therapeutic riding program is open to ages 4 and older. It focuses on the main skills associated with learning how to ride while making educational modifications and accommodations to riders with disabilities. Instructors modify classes as needed to help participants reach their physical, cognitive, social and emotional goals.
In comparison, assisted learning services help clients develop critical life skills such as trust, leadership, assertiveness, communication, self-confidence and self-awareness according to PATH. This particular program was originally designed for middle school and high school-aged children with noted behavioral problems. However, REINS offers this to younger children as well. The program is called “Learning to Lead,” and includes a mounted and unmounted version.
How Equine Therapy Differs
Zimmermann explains that the key difference in this type of therapy is based on the enjoyable and motivational environment available to the client. It allows the instructor to target certain skills that may be harder to address through traditional therapies and/or interventions.
Disabilities They Serve
Spinal Cord Injuries
And Many More!
When & Where
REINS is currently working on expanding the seasons they can offer therapy. As of this spring, they are building an outdoor riding facility that will be named “Freedom Ring.” During an outdoor riding experience, a participant named Caleb told his mom he felt free, thus influencing the naming of this outdoor arena.
REINS is always looking for volunteers (12 or older) and donations. Please visit reins-wi.org for more information. Scholarships are available for those unable to afford tuition.
“Without the support of the communities in which we serve, we simply could not do what we do,” says Zimmermann.
Contact Theresa Zimmermann at
920-946-8599 for more information.
Donations can be mailed to:
P.O. Box 68, Sheboygan Falls, WI 53085.
June 15 – Aug. 28
(No classes week of July 20)