Violin and Therapeutic Riding
Using violin vibrations for sparking deeper connections for those needing physical, cognitive, and emotional wellness.
So Imagine the Potential in the Therapeutic Riding Arena for Disabilities!
Cause and Effect
Calm and Focus
Using Cause and Effect to Trigger Understanding
Here is an example. Kherrigan was unable to learn sign language due to her autism and blindness. Although Pippa Hodge worked with her to understand that touching fingers together meant “more”, she was unable to put the two concepts together. One day, as the violin began to be involved with her learning process, she had a Eureka! moment. It occurred when I declined to play as her hands came away. “More?”, Pippa asked, without helping. Break-through! She initiated the response. Her reward, using cause and effect, was for me to play the violin for her. What a touching moment — for all of us.
Kherrigan’s Epiphany: “When my daughter first started Hippotherapy (physiotherapy on a horse), I was thrilled. It quickly became our favorite weekly therapeutic activity. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, Carolyn and her violin showed up. Now my daughter rides the horse to beautiful violin music.”
“In observing both my daughter and other clients, I have seen (and experienced for myself) that Carolyn’s music increases their overall engagement during their Hippotherapy session. Carolyn and her violin music provide another sensory input that truly makes therapy more holistic. I believe the music will continue to help my daughter get the most out of her Hippotherapy sessions, as it provides individualized and dynamic opportunities for auditory feedback, promotes concepts of cause and effect, is a stimulus for improving deep breathing and lung capacity, and adds to an environment a sense of warmth and safety. My daughter thoroughly enjoys hearing the music as well as interacting with it.”
“Carolyn provides a wonderful complementary service that she willingly customizes for every individual, both young and old. It has been a great addition to my daughter’s therapy!”
- Jillian Bergman Stow,
PT, Director of Care,
PhysioCare At Home
As a professional violinist and teacher, I enjoy innovating to create possibilities for others. I have developed a music program called Violin For Wellness: Violin and Therapeutic Riding for disabilities in the therapeutic riding arena. My expertise on the violin is a powerful tool for assisting in physical therapy and therapeutic instruction.
This is what I find. When I play the violin in the arena as a layer on top of therapy treatment or riding instruction, the violin serves as another tool for the therapists to use to increase their ‘reach’. If there is client resistance at all, the violin casts its spell, and barriers are broken. A door is opened, and the spark and warm feelings the violin pours over the client can instigate cognitive and physical transformation. Additional positive outcomes include great waves of happiness, kilowatt smiles, and well-being. The violin enables change.
Therapeutic Riding is taught by Instructors who have passed rigorous training through CANTRA: Canadian Therapy Riding Association, or the American equivalent.These instructors will concentrate on personal engagement through games, strength, and flexibility exercises.
Come and be a part of this ground-breaking journey.
Join the Violin for Wellness Family.
Hippotherapy is a modality used by Physical and Occupational Therapists who are medically-trained. They understand the biology of the horse and the human and how to use the mechanics of the horse to pinpoint physiological treatment for the human. They use the warmth, gait, and size of the horse to challenge proprioception, core strengthening, stretching, and other special focuses.
In fact, the violin is truly leading the sessions in my Violin and Therapeutic Riding program, partnering with the horse and sparking effective and fun ideas with the Instructors and Therapists. With well-being and better quality of life at the center of my goals, it is really magical seeing my clients change before our very eyes: happy, responsive, and moving forward in their development. We have enjoyed sharing this program with international visitors too.
Letting any facility know you desire to include the violin in your loved one’s program will help make it happen sooner! Therapeutic riding facilities do recognize the value of adding a live music component to their programming, so they need to hear from you!
Please contact or email me at
” I really liked the music, it was very very nice. Ember (the horse) responded really really well. She was listening and not stalling. I liked the challenges.”