HORSEBACK RIDING THERAPY
Equine Assisted Therapy
It may seem less like therapy and more like play, but equine-assisted therapy really can help those with physical and mental disabilities Therapeutic riding provides benefits in the areas of therapy, education, sport, and recreation. The active participation required by riding a horse allows people to extend their dreams beyond the confines of their disability. Sports Riding focuses on teaching riding skills to participants as young as four years of age with physical, cognitive and/or emotional disabilities. Physically, the horse in motion, moves a rider with disabilities rhythmically and naturally through space in a way that simulates the human walking gait. This type of motion develops core muscle strength, balance and posture. Horseback riding also develops gross and fine motor control and promotes coordination. Mentally, horseback riding increases concentration, improves sequential thought processing and develops spatial awareness. Emotionally, horseback riding provides an opportunity for riders to bond with the horse, their instructor and their volunteers. This helps develop trust and reinforces appropriate behaviors. Socially, horseback riding nurtures a positive self-image and self-confidence as riding skills are learned. Riders often experience independence for the first-time in their lives when they are riding
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