Centaur Stride is a therapeutic riding center located in a rural
setting in western New York. This organization offers the
benefits of hippotherapy to individuals with autism, cerebral
palsy, Multiple Sclerosis and to people who have suffered a stroke.
Founded by Claudia Monroe in 1993, Centaur Stride was the result
of a seminar attended by Claudia on Hippotherapy and the Multiple
Sclerosis patient. The attendees of that seminar worked with
24 patients, all with varying degrees of MS. After one week many of
those who had come in using wheel chairs were walking with walkers
or canes, and those who had come using walkers and canes were able
to walk without such devices. This is because horseback riding
helps to build up core strength. The act of sitting upright on a
horse as it is walking forces a person's body to do certain things.
Your core muscles are worked in the act of sitting upright and to
maintain one's balance during the gentle swaying motion which one
experiences on the back of a walking horse. This strengthens the
communication system - also known as the nervous system - using
pathways, which do not typically get a lot of use.
Funding is always an issue. Sixteen horses and a part-time
staff require a lot of fundraising. And as many riders
require a person to lead the horse and a side-walker on each side,
Centaur Stride uses all of the volunteers that they can get.
Volunteers are always welcomed and training is provided. Volunteers
are also need as stable cleaners, grant writers, building/grounds
maintenance and for horse care. As with many organizations,
Centaur Stride could not afford to operate without the help of