Pictured above: the prototype currently in the testing phase.
This was custom-designed for Lazy R Ranch, and built by the Amish in Pennsylvania.
Pictured is the third prototype, the first two were sold to passersby at the builder's facility.
They were selling faster than he could make them for us.
The reason for these "wheelchairs in driving carts" for miniature horses ...
As you may know already, Therapeutic Riding (aka "horse therapy") has been demonstrated to provide emotional therapy for differently abled children.
Although physical therapy is also a benefit derived from Therapeutic Riding, we do not believe that physical therapy is the only benefit derived from horse therapy.
Indeed, the emotional benefits to children may greatly outweigh the physical benefits.
Unfortunately, many of the very children who would most benefit from Equine Therapy are not able to participate in conventional therapeutic riding. They are not able to sit a saddle.
In the past, some riding academies have offered therapeutic cart or carriage driving as an alternative to conventional, in-saddle horse therapy.
Unfortunately, for the child in the wheelchair, the use of conventional driving or draft horses ruins the most important benefit of horse therapy: the child must be hoisted very high, in order to see over the horse.
The use of ramps, hoists, block & tackle or other mechanisms - in order to lift the child & wheelchair into the high elevation required for driving from a wheelchair - is the problem.
The emotional benefit to such severely disabled children derives from their ability to do things as well as anybody else!
Also, they are able to form close child-horse relationships with their horses.
The use of extreme measures to lift child + wheelchair 36" to 40" off the ground - and place them into a traditional driving cart or carriage - ruins this benefit for the child.
The Lazy R Ranch wheelchair-accessible miniature driving cart will enable the child to easily and quickly mount, take the reins, and drive the horse. No "adult support" will be required (with the possible exception of the equine therapist leading the horse).
YOUR DESIGN SUGGESTIONS ARE WELCOMED ...
Our first modification will involve adding a place for a therapist to ride with the child in the wheelchair, as may be required.
It must be performed in a way that this does not destroy the emotional benefit to the child.
In other words: the place for the assisting driver must be behind - or out-of-view of - the child holding the reins.
How do you suggest that this be achieved?