Late March was significant at the ranch—our wheelchair-accessible carriage FINALLY arrived! If you’ve had the opportunity to chat with Paul, or any of the crew in the past year, you’d know this is an exciting, and long-awaited, time. Paul said it best: “It feels like Christmas in the middle of Spring.”
The addition of the wheelchair-accessible carriage opens the door for exciting program growth. We have a veteran joining us as soon as we resume our spring session, and he will be our inaugural carriage lesson and driver. The new carriage specifically opens the doors to give individuals who are unable to ride horseback a sense of freedom to explore the ranch in another capacity while experiencing many of the same benefits. Therapeutic driving works on improving physical strength, cognition, problem-solving, coordination, confidence, and more.
Before we dive deeper into the benefits of Swiftsure acquiring our ADA carriage we would love to extend a heartfelt thank you to those who made it possible. First, The Spur Foundation has been an integral donor in making the purchase of the carriage possible. We’d also like to extend a big thank you to Heart of Gold Fund which closed out the funding needed to get the carriage finished and to our door; and finally, Bennington Carriages of England, for creating such a beautiful and custom carriage to fit the needs of the ranch and our participants.
A few questions we’ve been asked:
What does the future hold for our carriage program?
The future is exciting! We’re even looking to eventually add overnight camps at the ranch and incorporate the carriage into that programming. We’re also expanding our veterans’ program to include veterans teaching veterans, along with a ranch volunteer program in support. This is really just scratching the surface of where we can take the ranch in the coming years with the addition of the carriage.
Who is certified to teach the carriage driving program?
Swiftsure is currently the only PATH certified driving center in the state of Idaho. Paul Bennett, our Executive Director, has spent a lifetime holding the reins of carriages and recently spent six days of additional dedicated training in Texas to earn his PATH credentials.
What are the benefits of carriage driving?
Specifically, the addition of the carriage will open up the benefits of equine-assisted therapy to those who cannot mount a horse due to their degree of disability, weight, or fear. Therapeutic driving will enable this group to experience the rewards of interacting and controlling a horse from the comfort of a carriage seat.
Truly, this is only the beginning of what the addition of the carriage can do for the ranch, our participants, and future programs. We cannot wait to take you along for the ride. Be sure you’re following us on Instagram or Facebook to see the latest updates with the carriage and all of our activities. And, as always if you have any questions for us feel free to reach out–carriage-related or not.