The Core Values and Beliefs that make this program what it is today.
Carlisle Academy Integrative Equine Therapy & Sports transforms lives through horses. We provide a full spectrum of distinctive services – rehabilitative to recreational, curative to competitive – within an inclusive environment that fosters health, learning, and overall well-being.
Carlisle Academy’s vision is to be a leader in advancing exceptional programming, innovative curricula, and sustainable business practices in the field of equine therapy and sports.
Carlisle Academy’s core values encompass our beliefs as a center of excellence in equine therapy and sports. Our overarching principles of Integration, Integrity and Innovation combine to offer lasting Impact to those we serve.
- We hold a deep respect for humanity, animal kind and the natural world, and are committed to learning from our interdependence.
- We believe in the power of the horse to teach, inspire, and heal while providing a unique movement and presence that can be scientifically demonstrated to benefit a person’s functional health and resiliency.
- We believe that safe, ethical and honest relations are paramount in all our affairs.
- We believe that the working farmscape is central to our connection with nature, the animals in our care, and the healing environment we provide.
- We believe in contributing to the advancement of groundbreaking research which generates greater acceptance of and remuneration for equine-facilitated therapies.
- We believe that integration of therapy and sports programs promotes social inclusion, family cohesion, community building, and richness in learning.
- We believe that collaborative teamwork combined with credentialed professionals and courageous leadership foster innovation, greater efficacy, and program excellence.
- We believe that a sustainable business model, integrated with access to charitable support, uplifts the industry while serving the common good.
The Horse – a source of health and wholeness
Horses are an abundant source of health and joy, and our programs reflect that. From therapy to enrichment, and education to sports, we are privileged each day to participate in the life-changing work, in partnership with the horse.
There is real science behind our integrative therapeutic work with horses. In hippotherapy, a clinical movement-based therapy, one of the most fascinating aspects of horse movement is that the pelvic motion of a horse simulates the human walking gait. This motion has not been replicated in traditional therapy or on a piece of equipment. Through riding, the horse moves the rider’s pelvis and muscles in a rhythmic, even manner that the rider is unable to achieve on his or her own. Thus individuals with physical disabilities experience improvements in core strength, balance, and range of motion. The horse’s movement also impacts the rider on a neurological level. The vestibular (balance sensing system) and proprioceptive (awareness of body movement and spatial orientation) input given by the three planes of the horse’s movement stimulate brain function and rehabilitation, significantly enhancing developmental processes like motor planning and sensory integration. Major gains have also been documented for language skills, gait mobility, and more neurologically “organized” systems.
Equine-Facilitated Wellness celebrates the horse and human connection from the ground on a heart resonance level. Horses teach us that being present and connected to ourselves, others, and the world around us is essential for learning and growth. This energetic relationship not only can bring profound emotional healing, but is currently being researched and measured by modern technology. Combine that awareness with the tranquility of the farm’s setting and participants, family members, and caregivers can experience an enriching respite.
Horses challenge us physically and mentally and teach us the value of hard work and teamwork. They also bring us great joy, while building confidence and independence. Participating in equestrian sports promotes a healthy lifestyle and can be a gateway to beneficial recreation and competition. As a forerunner in bridging the “therapy into sport” gap, Carlisle Academy is part of the growing opportunities in adaptive physical education and Paralympic equestrian sports, while promoting inclusion in traditional horse sports such as U.S. Pony Club.
Education is at the heart of all that we do. Functioning as a veritable learning lab with a variety of accredited equine-based therapy and sport programs, Carlisle offers unique opportunities for career exploration, clinical education, and research projects. We have welcomed over 100 fieldwork interns to this professional learning community since 2011. Additionally, our apprenticeships offer community members a valuable educational exchange based on a service-learning model, giving equine helpers and lesson assistants another way to learn and grow at the Academy.