The Ride On Center for Kids (“R.O.C.K”) is a PATH Intl. Premiere Accredited Center, located in Georgetown, Texas, that has been serving Central Texas since 1998. The center provides physical therapy, speech therapy, therapeutic horsemanship, ROCK On Veterans,and equine-assisted learning programs for schools, juvenile programs, and individuals.
The center serves individuals 2 to 90+ with physical, cognitive and emotional challenges. These include individuals with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Strokes, Multiple Sclerosis and a variety of other similar disabilities and disorders.Through equine assisted therapeutic interventions, clients see improvements in most aspects of their life, like for example, muscle tone, strength, flexibility, and balance. Plus, in addition, cognitive, behavioral, communication and emotional improvements.
The ROCK has two MiraColt devices which are a synergistic complement to the horses that they use in serving their clients. Dr. Nancy Krenek, the center’s founder and CEO, who also serves as its Director of Therapy & Research is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, a Hippotherapy Clinical Specialist, American Hippotherapy Association (“AHA, Inc”) Member Therapist and PATH Intl. Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor. Below are a couple of interesting insights she had to share about the benefits that the center has had in having and using the MiraColt alongside horses as complementary tools in their therapy services.
First of all, she stated that “It [the MiraColt] is a great machine,” which “allows us [the R.O.C.K] to say yes to more individuals while we [the R.O.C.K service and therapy team] assess the rhythmical, consistent, frequent, bilateral, cyclical and symmetrical movement of equine therapy before potentially having them partner with a live horse.”
She was very clear about the fact that, “it [the MiraColt]” doesn’t replace the horse because it doesn’t allow warmth and movement through space,” and that it “cannot compete with a horse.” However, “it [the MiraColt] is super beneficial,” because, “If you are trying to improve mobility, some of the other machines out there are great, but the beauty of the horse [the MiraColt] is it’s rhythmical, consistent, frequent, bilateral, cyclical and symmetrical movement.” Furthermore, “when weather or health of a horse is a problem for providing services, the MiraColt allows us to have continuity of service”
She added,”It [the MiraColt] offers different movement [when compared to other devices out there] and captures 4 different beats ( like 4 legs hitting the ground)”. She stated that in horseback riding for therapeutic purposes,”the forward, side-to-side, and rotational motions of a horse are the three most prominent movements,” however, ” when you ride on a different machine [i.e., any other simulator out there], usually one of these is missing pretty significantly.”
She provided two use cases for us to note. The first, “[an] 80-year old man with MS [ Multiple Sclerosis] who broke his hip.” For him, “[the] MiraColt has a significant, precautionary opportunity [that] most people don’t have with other devices.” She also added that, “the movement of the MiraColt is beneficial with Autism because of the rhythmical, bilateral, movement with percussion. If a child with Autism needs a lot of stimulation, you need a horse with a deep percussion. After getting on the horse [MiraColt] and sinking into the rhythmical movement, an overstimulated child experiences decreased anxiety and an increased ability to focus”