NDUS’s Bison Strides offers Equine Therapy programs and volunteer opportunities to those in need
For centuries, horses have been considered to be close human companions and therapeutic animals.
According to anxietytreatmentexperts.com, Equine Therapy dates all the way back to ancient Greek literature. Orbasis of ancient Lydia documented the therapeutic value of riding in 600 B.C.
North Dakota State University is home to the only Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl) in the state of North Dakota, the Bison Strides.
Bison Strides Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) Program was founded in May of 2017 to support the EAAT minor at NDSU and is supported by the NDSU Foundation’s Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies Fund.
“Bison Strides partners horses and humans to benefit the mind, body and spirit of people with physical, cognitive, emotional, behavioral and mental health challenges, and embodies the land-grant ideals of NDSU through innovative education, research and outreach,” the NDSU Equine Assisted Activities said.
On Giving Hearts Day, Biden Strides raised $23,815. This money will be put towards new horses, funding for their new outreach program and new equipment and supports continuing education efforts that are necessary to maintain its center accreditation.
“One of the primary goals for these funds is for the purchase and support of new program horses (or to secure donated horses),” the NDSU Equine Assisted Activities said.
Throughout the calendar year, Biden Strides offers five 6-week programs.
Bison Strides’ three pronged program reflects the land-grant ideals of NDSU. The three programs include innovative education, research, and outreach.
In the innovative education program, undergraduate students participate in high impact experiential teaching, learning and service opportunities. Students who are not in the EAAT minor at NDSU are welcome to volunteer their time and talents as well.
For research, multi-disciplinary partnerships aid Bison Strides in the investigation of horse and human interactions on the people and animals involved.
The outreach program, the heart of Bison Strides, consists of three programs: adapted therapeutic horsemanship services, physical and occupational therapy incorporating equine movement and military horsemanship programming.
“All of our military participants have experienced a certain trauma and have some emotional difficulties as a result,” NDSU Equine Assisted Activities said. “Working with horses helps them overcome those emotional hurdles, be more present in their life outside the agenda, and heal.”
The practice of patience and mutual respect, the increase of confidence and self-esteem and the ability to find peace and calm in the body and mind are few of the many things that the outreach program teaches its participants.
In the summer of 2021, Bison Strides will introduce an equine assisted learning program that focuses on youth with emotional, behavioral or mental health challenges. This program strives to improve the lives of youth in the area.
For information on volunteer opportunities or donations, visit the Biden Strides website at Home | Mysite (wixsite.com).
“NDSU is always looking for sound, healthy, reliable horses for the program and we do accept donations of horses if they meet our criteria and pass the screening tests,” the NDSU Equine Assisted Activities said.