Therapeutic Horseback Riding

Equine Therapy involves interactions between humans and horses. Activities include riding, grooming, feeding, haltering and leading horses under the supervision of a PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International) certified instructor.

Physically, therapeutic riding helps coordination and normalizes muscle tone. Riding can improve posture, increase the functional range of motion, muscular strength, flexibility, perceptual motor skills and sensory motor skills.

Psychological benefits for individuals who participate include improved motivation, self-esteem, and confidence. Therapeutic riding enhances the development of cognitive skills and allows the rider to improve socialization skills and learn teamwork. Depression and anxiety are positively impacted by the horse human bond. The therapeutic benefits of structured interaction with a horse are recognized by many in the medical community.

Therapeutic riding is beneficial for these diagnoses including but not limited to:

  • ADD or other Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Down Syndrome
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Stroke
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries
  • Visual and Auditory Impairments
John Colflesh
I grew up on a small dairy farm near Delaware, Ohio. I graduated from Ohio University with a B.S. in Physics then spent eight years in the U.S. Navy as nuclear power trained submarine officer. Much of my time in the Navy was spent in Connecticut, where I lived for forty years.
After the Navy, I attained an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. I worked in the nuclear power industry for 36 years at Westinghouse Electric Company in Windsor, CT and Pittsburgh, PA. I had many roles and responsibilities over the years including; project management, marketing, field services management and quality assurance. As part of this work, I traveled all over the U.S., western Europe and parts of Asia.
Also, while in Connecticut: I owned a bicycle shop; served on the board of the local chapter of A Better Chance, in Glastonbury, CT; owned a reining horse (did lots of trail riding); and was a member of the Granby, CT Horse Council.
In 2017, my wife and I both retired from Westinghouse and moved to Brevard. For the first two years here, I did some part time consulting work as an industrial incident investigator and analyst.
I first volunteered for Free Rein as a Horse Leader in 2017 weeks after moving here and have been doing so ever since.