Horses Lend Helping Hooves

Horses Lend Helping Hooves

Horses Lend Helping Hooves

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man - Winston Churchill

     
Horses Lend Helping Hooves
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Having owned horses for over 20 years I know that saying to be true. But it takes on even more special meaning when it comes to Equine Assisted Therapy and Therapeutic Riding.  

Therapeutic riding is used to assist those with cognitive, physical and/or emotional conditions such as autism and cerebral palsy. Riding develops coordination, use of muscles, core strength, flexibility and balance in the rider. It also gives those who would not otherwise have the opportunity, the chance to get out of doors and participate in a stimulating activity. Therapeutic riding also has a positive effect on the physical and emotional well being of not only the rider, but of the dedicated professionals both paid and volunteer who assist in aiding the rider. 

Often children and teens are reluctant to open up to others about their problems, this is where equine assisted therapy steps in. Horses are very sensitive creatures and will reflect the feelings and attitudes of those human around them. Many horses used in these programs are rescued animals learning to trust again, just as in the case of many teens having difficult emotional times in need of learning to trust and cope.

According to the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International: Therapeutic riding uses equine-assisted activities for the purpose of contributing positively to cognitive, physical, emotional and social well-being of people with disabilities. Therapeutic riding provides benefits in the areas of therapy, education sport and recreation & leisure. Throughout the world, there are thousands of individuals with special needs who experience the rewarding benefits of horseback riding.

Other organizations worth mentioning are The Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA), a non profit organization dedicated to improving the mental health of families and individuals through equine therapy and the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), which is the international governing body for equine sports recognizes para driving and para dressage in its seven recognized disciplines giving physically handicapped riders the chance to compete on an international level.

No matter what the application, horses are proving themselves a very valuable asset in the therapy of those with physical, mental, emotional or developmental disabilities. Even as an able bodied rider, I can tell you that I have spent many hours over the years talking to my horses about my life. They don’t have anything to say, they just blink through large brown soulful eyes that say – just forget it for a while, let’s go for a ride. 

 

Photo By:  Andrew Hutchison


Leslie Kollar has over 20 years of experience in the health care field in both the U.S. and Canada. She has worked professionally in medical offices and hospital administration, using her BA in Communications/Public Relations and MBA in Marketing. She has also seen the other side of the health care coin as a 15 year cancer survivor. As a survivor she is passionate that each and every person is and should be responsible for their own health - and with this passion she hopes to inspire, inform and educate through Health WorldNet. Leslie can be reached at LK Communications [email protected]

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Last Updated : Monday, September 10, 2018