It is well-known how animals can have a special healing power. For years, we had a chance to personally observe some benefits of horse riding on our students in Doora Equestrian Centre in Clare.
Equine Assisted Therapy helps a great deal in promoting physical, psychological, social and educational growth in individuals, especially children with special needs. It helps stimulate the whole body. Regardless of their age, when the person mounts the horse, there is an evident surge in their self-esteem. This therapy also helps students overcome a host of challenges. Be it physical challenges or mental health issues. Like any therapy, Equine Assisted Therapy sets goals to aid students to overcome their challenges and disabilities.
Educational and Social Challenges
Equine Assisted Therapy helps in improving concentration and attention. For students challenged with a low span of attention, horse-riding can help them learn how to focus and also promotes their problem-solving skills. Development of responsibility, perseverance, respect, and love toward other beings is also promoted through this therapy. The students acquires a positive attitude, which helps familial relations as well as social integration.
Physical and Psychological Challenges
When the student is horse-riding, their sense of balance gets better. Their dexterity and motor coordination improve as does their muscle tone. Equine Assisted Therapy helps students experience independent movement in their shoulders and the pelvis. This is particularly helpful for those who are looking for help in developing good stability for walking. Horse-riding also helps enable sensations throughout the whole body. It promotes a feeling of self-confidence and self-esteem. The student also experiences a sense of overall well-being. This therapy helps students overcome feelings such as fear and insecurity.
Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
This program benefits many learners in our school but it is proven that horse riding can be therapeutic to autistic learners. It is important to note that every autistic student is unique with different challenges and varying degrees of personal sensitivity. The most common challenges, however, are sensory processing, underdeveloped communication skill (verbal and non-verbal), body awareness, balance and difficulty with concentration, to name a few. Vestibular sense organs help with experiencing spatial orientation and balance. These sense organs are situated inside the inner ear and are stimulated by the incline, speed and direction change. Horse-riding makes way the requisite stimulation in order to invigorate the sensory preceptors. When a student is riding the horse, they learn how to balance their body and move their body in rhythm with the horse’s movements to prevent themselves from falling off the horse. This helps students develop body balance as well as develop focus on the horse’s movement.