Banbury Cross Therapeutic Equestrian Center has been established to better the quality of life for people with special needs through therapeutic equestrian activities. The center provides the opportunity for each rider to develop to his or her greatest potential. Through the training and involvement of staff and volunteers, Banbury Cross also hopes to strengthen understanding toward people with special needs.
Riding for the disabled has a history of successes that extends back to Europe in the 1940's, when a few therapists began to use the gentle, rhythmic movement of the horse to stimulate the motion of human walking. They found that this motion relaxes the rider's muscles while stimulating the development of muscle tone, coordination, mobility, and flexibility. The discipline and concentration required to ride has proven to be of great benefit both mentally and emotionally. Above all, riding is therapy for the soul. These are the precepts upon which Banbury Cross Therapeutic Equestrian Center was founded.
The program was founded in 1991 by Ralph and Carol Curtis. The program has since changed locations and leadership, however the work continues to be done on a daily basis and the program continues to grow and reach new riders each session. The center is located in Oxford/Metamora, Michigan, an area that is steeped in equine tradition and home to the Metamora Hunt. At Banbury Cross, we welcome students with physical, emotional, behavioral, and cognitive challenges into the program.
Banbury Cross is a PATH International Center Member. The program has spearheaded programs with Oxford, Lake Orion, and Lapeer Community Schools' special education programs and has also been chosen as one of the select few centers to receive funding through the Wounded Warrior Project, which allows active and retired veterans to participate in our programs free of charge. Banbury Cross has also partnered with Lapeer County Mental Health to offer equine assisted psychotherapy sessions. Even as we continue to grow and diversify our programming, we are constantly assessing our participants needs and the needs of the community.