Editors’ Picks 2013: The Best Kids’ Entertainment in Westchester
Westchester Magazine’s editorial staff picks the county’s best entertainment, classes, shopping and more for kids.
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Horseback Riding for Children with Special Needs
Pegasus Therapeutic Riding
310 Peach Lake Rd, Brewster, NY (+ three regional chapters, including one at Fox Hill Farm in Pleasantville)
(845) 669-8235; pegasustr.com
We’ve all heard of animal-assisted therapy, but most think that term means “therapy dogs.” At Pegasus, a PATH International Premier Accredited Center founded in 1975, therapy comes in the form of horses, and, for children with special needs or disabilities, including autism, Down syndrome, hearing or visual impairment, and traumatic brain injuries, the therapeutic power of riding is tremendous. What makes the therapeutic riding activities so special, says Pegasus Executive Director Todd Gibbs, is that “these large, powerful, intelligent animals allow our students to be their leaders.” This empowers students (most are under 18, but Pegasus works with many adults, too) and teaches them the importance of responsibility and teamwork. The effectiveness of therapeutic riding is derived mostly from the similarity between a horse’s gait and a human’s walk, and this therapeutic riding can substantially improve mobility, balance, posture, coordination, language development, behavior control, and concentration.