Therapeutic Horse Riding makes use of horses and activities to achieve a variety of therapeutic goals, including cognitive, physical, emotional, social and behavioral goals.
Benefits of Therapeutic Horse Riding
- Memory is improved by having to remember the horse’s name, parts of the saddle and the instructions given by the instructor. Concentration is increased by focusing on the various exercises.
- Children learn to anticipate responses and identify the order of actions within an activity. Knowing what comes first in a sequence of events is an important part of most activities in life.
- Riding strengthens and tightens the muscles primarily in the back, neck, buttocks and leg regions; while the warmth of the horse and the rhythmic motion helps relax tight muscles.
- Teaches children patience and improves emotional/behavorial problems
Real life stories
Louis, a beautiful 8 year old boy, was diagnosed with Autism. He approached Cutie, his pony, with apprehension and ignored us completely. With a blank look on his face, we gave him a leg up onto Cutie. Louis relaxed the minute Cutie started walking and there was a hint of a smile on his face. All instructions were given through Cutie. “Cutie, lets walk to the drum” we told the pony. After a while Louis started pulling on the correct rein when we asked Cutie to turn in a specific direction. After about 20 minutes, Louis could maneuver Cutie through the obstacles. After one specific movement Louis burst out laughing. That was the first true emotion he has ever shown! After completing his first lesson, we walked up to the stables. We told Cutie that Louis’ lesson was finished and that Louis could get off. Every time we took his feet out of the stirrups, he would put his feet back. He didn’t want to get off! After that first lesson we had many wonderful ‘firsts’ with Louis. He won a rosette in a riding show that caused big excitement in his family. There were days that didn’t go well and when Louis hit his helmet on Cutie’s neck in a fit of anger, Cutie stood patiently, respecting the moment for what it was. She never held a grudge against Louis.
Daniel, an ADHD diagnosed boy started riding lessons at the age of 8. Getting him on the pony was easy but it took some effort to keep him focused during the half hour lesson. Anything would distract him, from a bird flying over to another horse grazing in the paddock. We started the lessons with basic balancing exercises and then moved on to the sequencing exercises. To get a reward Daniel had to make sure his pony followed his instructions through the obstacle course. Initially Daniel left the lessons empty handed, not able to complete the task. But every week he came closer and one day he successfully guided his pony through the course! He was over the moon with joy and pride! Today he completes an hour’s lesson with ease.
Information on the Therapeutic Horse Riding Lessons
Therapeutic Horse Riding Lessons are run by Equi-Team and are now available at Harveston Stables in Wilgeheuwel.
Each session lasts a half hour. During the lesson a number of exercises are done on horseback, following a program specifically developed according to each riders’ needs, assisting them to reach their full potential.
For further information follow the links alongside.