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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"


Hippotherapy (Greek hippo - horse) – is a form of treatment using horses, in which patients are engaged with an hippotherapist or a trained instructor in therapeutic horseback riding (DRT or Developmental Riding Therapy). This method is effective in the auxiliary treatment to varying degrees for people with disorders of the musculoskeletal system as well as some mental disorders. Involving patients in the sport has dramatic, positive effectS. Hippotherapy in Russia began in 1991, although this method has been known since the ancient times. The first organization - Children's Environmental Center "Live Thread" in the CMH (Central Moscow Hippodrome), has been successfully operating until now. For many years it has been headed by Irina Terentyeva, one of the founders of the organization.

The range of activies of MRCD is very wide. It includes hippotherapy sessions with children, therapeutic horseback riding for children and adults suffering as amputees as well as from various diseases such as cerebral palsy, various other types of paralyses, paresis, Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia and other mental defects. Russian Paralympic athletes and the athletes of the Spcial Olympics participate in competitions in Paralympic Programs and the Special Olympics at various levels, both nationally and abroad, including the highest level of the competitions, such as the World Equestrian Games, the Paralympic Games, World Special Olympics, European Special Olympics, World Championships and European Championships.

We are a charitable organization. Our limited funding is provided by sponsors, donors and in part by government agencies.

Developmental Riding Therapy in Russia began in 1999. The first sports club of its kind - MRCD (Moscow Riding Club for the Disabled) was established by members of the "Living Thread", wishing to devote themselves to equestrian sports. The organizer and inspirational leader of the club was also one of the founders of the "Living Thread" Peter Tamovich Gurvich, who died suddenly in 2006. As a result of the work undertaken by Moscow Riding Club for the Disabled in the area of the popularization of hippotherapy and sport in our country, today there exist many such organizations in Moscow, Moscow region and in many Russian cities.

During medical and educational riding a rider operates a horse independently with minimal help under the guidance of an instructor.

Medical-pedagogical equestrian vaulting effectively stimulates the development of children with underdeveloped perception and helps with their socialization.

Equestrian sport for the disabled is developing in several directions. For participants with an intact intelligence – Paralympic Dressage, Show Jumping, Harness Racing. For athletes with mental disabilities Special Olympics competitions are held, which provide for several types of events.

Sports is an integral part of the social, physical and psychological rehabilitation of the disabled. Disabled Sports has more than a 100-year history. In Berlin, in 1888, there already existed a Sports Club for the Deaf. After World War II left many maimed and injured young men whose need for self-realization prompted an involvement in sports, especially horseback riding.

During the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games in London on July 28, 1948, the first competition among wheelchair athletes was held, and in 2008 more than 4200 athletes from 148 countries participated in the Paralympic Games in Beijing.

Equestrian sport for the disabled started to develop recently, but in a very dynamic and rapid way. First international competition, which was attended by athletes from six countries, was held in New York in 1984.

In the 1999 World Championships in Denmark already there were 112 athletes from 28 countries, and for the first time involved the participation of two Russian athletes.

Paralympic dressage differs from the usual dressage by the simplified nature of its tests, the interdiction on performing certain gaits specific for each level, as well as shortening the time of the event and limiting the size of an arena.

This sport is available to persons with a wide range of functional disabilities. Depending on a degree of disability and its severity, an athlete participates in one of the five available Levels. Paralympic equestrian sport -the eighth of the equestrian sports of the FEI (International Equestrian Federation)-originated in Scandinavia and Great Britain in the early seventies.

Other kinds of Paralympic equestrian sports are being developed as well:

Paralympic show jumping and Paralympic harness racing. In Paralympic show jumping, just as in Paralalympic dressage, the athletes are divided into groups (according to the degrees of their functional disorders), within each of which they are judged.

Each group has its own set of obstacles limited in height. Paralympic harness racing, where the athletes are divided into two levels and which is conducted in special carriages is, unfortunately, not yet developed in Russia.

For persons with mental disabilities there is a special sports program - Special Olympics, founded in 1968 by the sister of the American President John F. Kennedy, Yuniss Kennedy Shriver. In 1998, more than 1.5 million disabled people in 150 countries were involved and participated in this event. Unfortunately, this work was not done until 1999 in Russia.

However, in subsequent years, many sports clubs and organizations have been formed, uniting disabled people. Athletes of our country have made impressive progress in equestrian Special Olympics, bringing gold, silver and bronze medals from major international competitions.


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)