THERAPEUTIC RIDING (BENEFITS)
Therapeutic riding is a rehabilitation programme, where the horse is the therapeutic medium; it improves the overall health and quality of life of people with physical, mental, or emotive disorders or handicaps.
The horse becomes an extension of their own body; it helps them venture into new experiences and discover unprecedented feelings: the pleasure of a ride or the thrill of a walk in the countryside, or, mainly, that precious sense of movement and personal independence.
The gait of a horse is similar to the human gait; therefore, it simulates the same sense of movement in the rider’s body which walking produces in people with no disabilities.
In this way, the torso muscles of people with mobility problems are strengthened significantly while at the same time the upright posture on the horse promotes good respiration.
Therapeutic riding is a unique experience for people with handicaps who never thought that they could ride and differs from traditional treatments in gyms, physical therapy, and hydrotherapy.
We can say that Therapeutic Riding is a supplementary therapy, because we don’t exclude our client’s additional therapies (physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, psychoanalysis, social rehabilitation etc). Therapeutic Riding is divided into:
• Hippotherapy: therapy with the horse as a medical method
• Educational Therapeutic Riding: it has to do with the development of mental health and its knowledge
• Developmental Therapeutic Riding: sports riding for disabled participants
Some conditions for which Therapeutic Riding is an indicated rehabilitation method, include:
|• Celebral Palsy||• Down Syndrome|
|• Spinal Column Injuries||• Autism|
|• Multiple Sclerosis||• Hydrocephaly|
|• Stroke/Apoplexy||• Microcephaly|
|• Arthritis||• Developmental disorders|
|• Absence or Disfigurement of limbs||• Behavioral disorders|
|• Blindness||• Emotional disorders|
|• Deafness||• Learning disorders|
|• Tactile disorders||• Mental Impairment and other disorders|
The horse has a particular gait, warmth and a capacity to bond and communicate with humans; coupled with fun and team activities, this according to worldwide research, offers unique physical, mental, sensory and psychological benefits to disabled people. Such benefits include:
- increase of symmetry
- improvement of body balance, posture and head control
- reduction of spasticity
- broadening range of movements
- enhancement of coordination and mobility
- improvement of attention and focus ability, visual-motor capacity and sense of direction
- improvement of body awareness, energy, activity, perception, alertness
- promotes sociability, self confidence and self esteem