Letter H is for- Horse Therapy
Horse Therapy is more appropriately called therapeutic riding equine riding, or hippotherapy. My daughter has been doing therapy on a horse since 2012. It has been one of the best therapies for her. The impact of sitting on top of a horse and then riding one is amazing.
Horse Therapy works on physical, cognitive, educational, and emotional needs for the rider. I have seen the impact it has had on my daughter.
For those with emotional challenges the bond that a horse creates helps with confidence, patience, social, and self esteem. Horse therapy helps to reduce the feeling of insecurity and fear.
Educational benefits-who would have known. It’s proven to increase remedial reading, math, and science skills, increase listening and focus skills, motor planning skills, sequencing and pattern skills, Visual and spatial perception and differentiation, and eye hand coordination skills.
Each therapy for every individual is different. It works wonders for ages 3-105. The experience for everyone is unique and each person is treated according to their specific issues. It is tailored to each rider. Even the riders specific needs determines the horse they ride and these factors influence and determine the effectiveness of therapy.
Who can benefit from horse therapy? This is just a short list.
Autism, mental and emotional issues, neurological motor impairments, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome
Behavioral disorders: aggressiveness, nervousness, stress, shyness, and much more
Developmental delays, learning disabilities, social problems, sensory issues
Orthopedic problems like posture, injuries, amputations, scoliosis, joint degeneration
Rheumatic Diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, gout
I can attest to the many benefits of this wonderful therapy with my daughter and other individuals.
For me one of the first things that I seen was that my daughter is out of her AFOs because of horse therapy. No one seen this coming but, she was a severe toe walker for years and it was effected her body tremendously. We think she toe walked due to her Sensory Processing Disorder. After a few months on the back of a horse she stopped. When we had a few months off of horse therapy she popped right back up on her toes. After several years she no longer goes back on her toes.
It has helped with her posture and we are currently working on her scoliosis while riding. Rheumatoid arthritis has been an issue and riding a horse helps her exercise those affected joints.
Incontinence this was an area I didn’t consider when we signed up for horse therapy. It has build up her muscles and has given her some ability to feel that sensation. She still is not where I would like her to be. She still needs pull ups and diapers. She now has some ability due to strengthening that muscle region. I have hope that one day she can do it!
She does sit ups while on a moving horse! I don’t think I could do one sit up anymore.
Social- oh my-does she love sharing about horse therapy for those who will listen. She loves telling the volunteers about insects while on a trail ride. She has taught them many things about her passion for insects.
Our therapy center has a saying that I love. “Miracles do happen” and that it “changes lives, one ride at a time”. I look at my daughter and believe that it has changed her life, one ride at a time.