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Knox Heavenly Gaits Enhances Quality of Life

Tuesday, September 15, 2015 @ 12:09 AM

Posted by Ron Wilshire

9534295KNOX, Pa. (EYT) – Monique Nellis, founder of the Heavenly Gaits Therapeutic Riding Center, Inc., talked to Clarion Rotary on Monday about the Center’s mission to provide meaningful instructions in horsemanship that accommodate and enhance the quality of life of those challenged by physical, cognitive, emotional, and or social constraints. 

“Physically, the horse produces movement in its rider that mimics the human walk,” said Nellis. “The rhythmical, 3-dimensional movement of the horse’s back increases core strength, flexibility, balance, and bilateral coordination, even for riders who have never walked on their own before.”

Horses are also capable of addressing emotional needs. As prey animals, they are always aware of their environment, including the people in it. Through only body language, they portray confidence, curiosity, fear, or relaxation.  Often, individuals with language difficulties find it very easy to relate, fostering a strong bond that increases self-esteem, relational skills, and communication.

heavenly gaits“Additionally, therapeutic horsemanship activities can improve cognitive skills, such as sequencing, sensory integration, tactile awareness, and following directions,” continued Nellis.

Heavenly Gaits TRC, Inc. strives to provide a facility where everyone can belong, a place where no one is viewed by their limitations, but for their possibilities.  The relationship between horse and rider is a unique bond that can improve the lives of those working with them in many aspects of life. The horses at Heavenly Gaits TRC, Inc. have been gathered individually and joined together for a common goal.  They have been prepared and trained to work with various riders and disabilities and are committed to providing therapy to everyone they encounter.

An outdoor arena and three well-trained therapeutic horses started the program.  We currently have nine horses and one pony, and our stall barn has recently been constructed. We have an indoor arena leased to accommodate clients during the inclement weather months.

Nellis said Heavenly Gaits Therapeutic Riding Center, Inc. has  a 501C-3 status. Fundraising events will be held to construct an indoor arena and eventually a lobby, office, classroom, and restroom will be added.  At that time, Heavenly Gaits will acquire additional horses and a larger barn.

Heavenly Gaits Therapeutic Riding Center Board Of Directors, in addition to Nellis includes:

Secretary: Debra Ace
Treasurer: Annette Steele
Directors: Dan Reitz and Richard Ashbaugh

More information can be found at

Heavenly Gaits Therapeutic Riding Center, Inc., is located on 2059 Ninevah Road in Knox, Pa.

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