Therapeutic Riding Lessons

Therapeutic Horse Riding is a multi-area intervention therapy which is used for children and adults with a variety of physical, cognitive, emotional and developmental disabilities. Therapeutic riding has been recognised for decades to improve:

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Social
  • Cognitive
  • Behavioural

It is also a healthy and fun activity. 

The warmth and three dimensional movement of the horse is transmitted through the rider’s body, gradually making it more relaxed and supple, reducing spasms and improving balance, mobility, posture and co-ordination, strengthening muscles throughout a rider’s body, increases circulation and promotes better overall health.

Therapeutic Riding gently and rhythmically moves the rider’s body in a manner similar to a human gait so those with mobility problems discover a new freedom in movement. Motor functions are improved by this unique and enjoyable therapy.

How do I find out more or book a lesson?

To find out more about Therapeutic Riding or book a lesson please contact Nicola at 01-2720708 ext. 213 or email Nicola at

Please note all therapeutic riders must have a referral letter from their doctor prior to commencing therapeutic lessons with Festina Lente. Persons with Down Syndrome must also be tested for Atlantoaxial Instability.


Our Therapeutic Riding Programme is used to develop, increase and improve:

Physical abilities: Muscle tone, balance, coordination, muscle strength, flexibility, fitness, posture, gait (ability to walk), respiration, circulation, metabolism, sensory perception and integration, independence: self-care and mobility.

Psychological abilities: Concentration, problem solving and decision making, insight, motivation, self-esteem, confidence, learning/practising concepts e.g. letters, numbers, colours, distances, shapes etc.

Social abilities: Communication and social skills, learning appropriate behaviour and manners, interaction with peers: individuals and groups, human/animal contact and bonding, building relationships, consideration for others and taking on responsibility.

There are many elements associated with Therapeutic Riding sessions. Once mounted, the session will include physical exercises to help improve co-ordination, posture and balance.

A variety of games and other learning aids are used as part of the sessions – all of which are used to stimulate the physical, cognitive, and emotional development of the child or adult. The exercises are done in a fun and varied way and include many learning aids.

In addition, the Therapeutic Riding Sessions can include our purpose built Sensory Trail which has been specifically designed to provide both sensory stimulation and sensory integration. This also includes a water feature, woodland area, purposefully created mounds, sounds with different surfaces and a variety of therapeutic games.

Sessions are provided both in the indoor and outdoor arena and also along the sensory trail. For insurance reasons, children under 4 years have lessons in the indoor arena.

Click here to view our price list.

Therapeutic Riding Sessions are facilitated by qualified Therapeutic Riding Coaches.The Therapeutic Riding Session may also include a leader and a side-walker

Festina Lente has been providing Therapeutic Riding since 2001 and provides approximately 110 sessions each week.We regularly welcome interns from both Irish and EU Colleges wishing to learn more about Therapeutic Riding. In addition to being one of the key providers of Therapeutic Riding, Festina Lente also delivers educational programmes for people wishing to train as Therapeutic Riding Coaches.

We encourage Therapeutic Riders to arrive 10 – 15 minutes earlier than their session time. Having this extra times allows riders to get ready for their session at their own pace so that they are relaxed and ready to get maximum value out of the session.

Whilst we ask that Therapeutic Riders wear riding hats we appreciate that some riders – and in particular very young riders – will find this uncomfortable. Where this is the case, please discuss this with the Therapeutic Riding Coach. For riders who do not wear riding hats, sessions will take place within the Indoor Arena. Festina Lente provides a wide range of riding hats which can be borrowed.

We acknowledge that some Therapeutic Riders may live with sensory processing issues and may have their own preferred way of dressing. Track-suit bottoms and leggings are ideal for Therapeutic Riding. When a parent or other person is going to walk alongside the session, the best footwear are closed toe shoes or boots. If in any doubt drop Nicola an email and she will advise

Cancellations should be made at least 24 hours before sessions are due to take place. Please contact Nicola at
Monday to Friday between 8.00am and 1.00pm or Clodagh at: Cancellations made inside of 24 hours will be charged.