Therapeutic Riding: What is it?
Therapeutic horseback riding provides many benefits to the physical, cognitive, sensory, and emotional well being of all riders. The instructor will create a customized lesson plan for each rider and then work on implementing a great working team: the horse, the rider and the instructor. The bond that is made between the horse, instructor, and rider can be amazing and unique. This relationship will grow and positively affects the success of the lessons.
As part of the program, the riders learn how to care and groom the horse. These activities are themselves therapeutic. Horse care is incorporated into the therapy goals for each individual. New skills are learned and the relationship between the rider and the horse continues to grow. This partnership increases the rider's self-esteem and self-empowerment allowing the rider to connect with others.
There are other benefits to therapeutic riding. The horse's body provides warmth to the rider's muscles thereby aiding in relaxation. The rider can also gain increased muscle strength, improved balance, joint mobility, balance and coordination. Communication goals are worked on while giving instructions to the horse and responding to the instructors.
Although each rider has different therapy goals and needs, horses have proven to have a powerful effect on a person. Where other therapies fail, equine-assisted therapy succeeds. Regardless of the rider's therapy goals, horses seem to a have natural healing affect on a person's body. A person is comprised of physical, mental, sensory and emotional aspects; equinapy works with all the aspects to help with the healing of the whole person.