Riders who participate in the Activities Program are given additional opportunities to develop physical, social, and emotional skills. They are challenged to try something new, and to show what they can do. The program contains indoor and outdoor activities that may reinforce riding and arena activities, or provide opportunities to explore ideas and learn interesting facts about the horses they ride while playing games, working puzzles, completing an activity page, enjoying an art process, playing with model horses or puppets, grooming a model horse (or a real one), constructing a model stable or arena, or working in the garden.
Susan Swalm is GAIT's Activities Program Coordinator. She works with GAIT's PATH International-Certified Instructors to continually develop this off-horse program. Ms. Swalm researched the Search Institute's 40 Developmental Assets and PA Academic Standards and used them as guides to write the original “I Know a Horse!” Fun Book Series. The series is being used to update the curriculum and to create new Activity Fun Books, one of which is currently available for purchase: A Day in the Life of a Therapeutic Horse.
Another aspect of GAIT's off-horse activities program is helping riders move through the narrow path of GAIT's two labyrinths (wheelchair and walkway labyrinths). Studies have shown that moving through the narrow path of a labyrinth helps calm the person and "quiet the mind."
GAIT TRC is truly fortunate to have Ms. Swalm as our Activities Program Coordinator.
A special "thank you" to the Coakley Family for donating the materials and then donating their time to build these fabulous labyrinths for all GAIT riders to enjoy!