The Therapeutic Riding Center of Israel was founded in 1986 by a group of dedicated citizens and under the leadership of Charles Woolf as Chairperson and Theo Koffler as President, and a committed board of directors. A new state-of-the-art facility was opened in Tel Mond, in 2001 thanks to the financial support of the Center’s cherished friends and lead donations by Leon and Theo Koffler, Marvelle and Murray Koffler and Jackie and Morris Kahn.The Riding Center has continued to act as a catalyst to improve the quality and well-being of thousands of lives.
The Therapeutic Riding Center of Israel is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of disabled individuals through a unique therapeutic and recreational method: Animal Assisted Therapies ( AAT). Today, over 700 people participate in our therapeutic programs. Along with therapeutic riding lessons, outdoor riding trails and a dog-assisted therapy program, the center offers in cooperation with the Israeli Sports Academy, Wingate, professional courses and training in AAT.
The staff includes therapeutic riding instructors, physio- therapists, psychologists, a social worker, dog trainers, occupational therapists, medical advisors and over 300 dedicated volunteers.
TRCI has a wide range of participants from various socio – economic backgrounds, religions and ages, and with a wide range of disabilities including: physically and emotionally challenged, children with cerebral palsy, young blind children, trauma patients due to a car accident or terror attacks and IDF war veterans. Our youngest participant was two years old and the oldest rider is way in his seventies.
In our therapies we use specially trained horses and dogs with specific characteristics, with the aim of improving the physical, social, emotional, and/or cognitive functioning of the participant, as well as providing educational and motivational effectiveness for participants.
Our therapeutic program concentrates on four main areas:
1. Animal assisted learning
2. Hippo therapy
3. Canine Therapy
4. Therapy that combines treatments with both dogs and horses.
In Cerebral Palsy (CP) for instance – a condition caused by damage to the brain and characterized by an inability to fully control motor function and resulting in spasms or cramped muscles- the rhythmic motion and warmth of the horse can relax the muscles, give a general feeling of comfort and improve muscle toning and posture. Therapeutic riding can also facilitate cognitive and sensor motor development in childhood, help develop a sense of responsibility, self-confidence and fair play in adolescents and provide life-long recreation and sport. It can do all this while stimulating the good posture, balance and flexibility needed for functional independence off the horse.
TRCI was recently elected by the sports academy of Wingate as the sole representative and education center for the course for Therapeutic riding instructor, the only officially recognized course in Israel, which qualifies to instructors level. Furthermore TRCI cooperates within the EU Pegasus educational program with the AAT department of the Hogeschool Ghent in Belgium.
The Center covers an area of 40 dunams, with an indoor riding arena of 2000 square meters, which facilitates the therapeutic riding lessons. Our professional staff includes physiotherapists for therapeutic riding, and certified, experienced riding instructors. Our staff is supervised by professional board including doctors, psychologists, physiotherapists, and educational advisors. Also we are members of the national and international equestrian organizations for the disabled.
Among them are the Israel Sports Association for the Disabled, International Paralympics Equestrian Committee, Delta Society, Federation of Riding for the Disabled International, Special Olympics, and the National Association for Horseback Riding at Wingate Institute- Israel. We host many national competitions and events for therapeutic riding such as the annual Special Olympics, along with the national Arabian Horse exhibition, the National Reining Horse Association show, and the National Dressage competition.