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Hippotherapy, therapeutic horseback riding and equestrian sport for persons with disabilities

General Information and Organization


Special Olympics

Para-Equestrian Dressage

Registration for classes

Regional Charity Organization
"Moscow Riding Club for the Disabled"


Moscow Riding Club for the Disabled has existed since 1999. More than a hundred disabled (I-III groups), half of them children, diagnosed with cerebral palsy, mental retardation, Down syndrome, early childhood autism and other serious diseases are regularly attending the Club's sessions.

We are actively working on the implementation of lifelong rehabilitation of disabled persons, which facilitates the integration into society of people with disabilities and their families. The Club is one of the few organizations that provide rehabilitation measures for people over 25 years old.

Reference. Hippotherapy is a method of rehabilitation for people with disabilities using horseback riding. Its uniqueness lies in the harmonious combination of body-oriented and cognitive techniques for effects on body and psyche of patients.
Riding a horse allows a patient to use almost all the muscles, including those affected by ipairmaint or disease, which are not ordinarily used by a disabled person in every day life.

It dramatically improves motor skills, perseverance and the perception of the surrounding world. Hippotherapy is also an effective tool for balance training and improving the overall physical and mental state of patients with physical and mental disabilities.

Interaction with horses, trainers and experts, participation in equestrian competitions allow people with disabilities to adapt socially through the methodical use of acquired physical and cognitive skills in everyday life. Regular classes and hippotherapy produce a significant social effect - from full integration of the disabled person intosociety in cases of mild to moderate severity, to finding opportunities to be self sufficient in severe cases.

Hippotherapy and DRT (Developmental Riding Therapy) are being actively developed since the early sixties of the twentieth century in Europe (Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Poland and other countries) and North America. In Russia the first hippotherapeutic center appeared in 1991, with one of its founders being Peter Gurvich, who in 1999 organized and formed the Regional Charitable Social Organization "Moscow Riding Club for the Disabled”

Areas of activity of the Regional Charitable Social Organization "Moscow Riding Club for the Disabled":

- rehabilitation and social integration for persons with disabilities of all ages using hippotherapy, therapeutic riding and DRT;
- development of equestrian sport for disabled people within the scope of Paralympic and Special Olympics programs;
- promotion of hippotherapy and DRT as a means of rehabilitation and social reintegration for persons with disabilities;
- publishing of specialized literature on hippotherapy and DRT;
- educating, training and skills development in hippotherapy and DRT.

Rehabilitation and social adaptation:

As a result of regular exercises in hippotherapy, theraputic and develpmental horseback riding there occur significant physical and mental changes in patients of different age groups:
1. Strengthening of musculoskeletal system,
2. Formation of skills for the retention of equilibrium,
3. Emergence and consolidation of skills for crawling and walking,
4. Reducing spasticity and improvement in coordination,
5. Extension of depth perception of space,
6. Increased concentration,
7. Emergence of speech function,
8. Improvement in communication skills,
9. The skills of self-control during regular horse and dressage exercises.

All of this leads to the empowerment and increased social adaptation of the students.

The uniqueness of Hippotherapy and DRT is its ability to apply these methods to rehabilitate people with impairments and disabilities regardless of their age.

Development of Equestrian sports for the disabled.

The training of athletes and Paralympic athletes for the Special Olympics.

Organization and conducting Paralympic competitions in dressage and the Special Olympics program. Annually, in conjunction with MOSCOMSPORT, the Club organizes and conducts two open Moscow Cup equestrian competitions among persons with disabilities and the competition program of the Special Olympics, which are attended by athletes from different regions of Russia and abroad.

Training of Specialists in Hippotherapy and DRT.

Conducting outreach seminars on Hippotherapy and DRT. Seminars were held in Yoshkar-Ola, Khanty-Mansiysk, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Yekaterinburg, Samara and other cities of the country.

Providing training, education and skills development in hippotherapy and DRT.

Together with the Russian State University of Physical Culture, Sport, Youth and Tourism (RSUFKSYandT) the Club holds regular training courses, which were taught so far to over two hundred students of various specialties and who received certificates of Instructors of Hippotherapy and Therapeutic Horseback Riding upon successful completion of the course of study.

Publication of Special Editions and profile literature on methods and practices.

Translated and published about a dozen books by foreign authors on Hippotherapy and DRT.

Work is under way on the preparation for publication of guidance on Hippotherapy and DRT, and reissuing of the previously printed books.

Other activities of the Club.

The Club employs professional trainers, hippotherapists, technical and service staff (horse walkers, stable personnel, a veterinarian, a blacksmith). Our neuropsychiatrist, Dr. B.A. Arkhipov regularly conducts surveys, appraisals and tests of our students.

Hippotherapy, as well as any other activities involving the use of horses is very expensive: preparation and maintenance of horses, their care, organization of sports competitions, salaries and fees are some of the expenditures, which require substantial outlays of funds. The Club is looking for sponsors and partners by offering them different ways to participate in Club activities - both current and prospective.

For the therapeutic classes and DRT sessions and the training of the disabled athletes the Club maintains seven specially selected and trained horses. Classes are held at the Olympic training center "Planernaya" (Khimki, pos. Spartacus), where the Club rents stables and an indoor excercise circle.

Development and Expansion plans for "MRCD".

Over the years, the Club has formed a team of experienced professionals: trainers, hippoterapists, teachers and psychologists. A comprehensive system of rehabilitation that can be replicated has been worked out to be developed and applied throughout the country. Introduction of Hippotherapy at the all-Russian level is also one of the priorities of the Club. The Club is currently working on the following projects aimed at promotion and adoption of Hippotherapy, Therapeutic Equestrian Riding and DRT in Russia as highly effective methods of rehabilitation of invalids and disabled persons:
Creation of a Comprehensive Rehabilitation Center, with the following activities:
Comprehensive rehabilitation using:
1) medical methods (physical therapy, exercise therapy, massage, reflexology);
2) methods of zootherapy (Hippotherapy, Canine therapy and rehabilitation with other animals);
3) psychological and pedagogical methods (Game therapy, Art therapy, Occupational therapy);
4) working with parents (educational, psychological and pedagogical);
5) training in comprehensive rehabilitation (training seminars, courses, internships);
6) scientific-methodologic work (development of methods of rehabilitation, the publication of specific profile literature, organization of conferences, seminars, etc.);
7) cultural tourism;
8) sports and recreation;
9) the organization of one or a series of summer intensive rehabilitation camps for handicapped children;
10) the organization and conducting of sports competitions in equestrian sports for people with disabilities;
11) publication of Special Editions and profile literature on methods and practices in Hippotherapy and DRT.

This center will become the basic experimental platform for the development and implementation of comprehensive means for rehabilitation and socialization methodology using zootherapy, and its success in becoming self sustaing and financially independent will be achieved by restoring the quality of life and health not only to the people with disabilities but to healthy people as well.

Executive Director
Mr. Oleg Soloviev


The site's host-supported by the Hi-Fi.Ru Company
© Moscow Riding Club for the Disabled 2008-2014.

Translation into English (US): Vladimir Yakovlev.
Web-design: Ilya Shulga.

Some more about the Moscow Riding Club for the Disabled:

Letter from Her Royal Highness Princess Anne

Thanking letter from the British Embassy in Moscow

Letter from the National Federation of Therapeutic Riding (Russia)

Presentation about the Moscow Riding Club for the Disabled.

Photos and articles about the Moscow Riding Club for the Disabled (in Russian)

Videos about the Moscow Riding Club for the Disabled (in Russian)

Integration camps by the Moscow Riding Club for the Disabled (in Russian)