Therapeutic riding is a unique combination of sport, recreation, and education. There are many benefits to therapeutic riding for individuals with cognitive, physical, or psychological disabilities. All students gain confidence by mastering riding skills. Therapeutic riding focuses on forming a partnership with the horse. The horse's gait closely emulates that of the human gait and allows the brain to practice correct walking movement patterns. Horses are very social animals.
Social interactions are developed between the horse, therapist, instructors, volunteers, and other students.
Physical benefits can include greater strength and agility, improved balance and posture, improved weight bearing ability, improved circulation, respiration, and metabolism, normalizing of muscle tone, reduced spasticity, improved fine and gross motor skills, improved coordination, improved reflexes, and increased range of motion.
Psychological benefits can include an increase in recreation, fun, empowerment, social interactions, independence, improved self image, attention span and motivation, self-confidence, self-discipline, risk taking, patience, and trust.
Cognitive benefits can include sequencing, hand-eye coordination, multi-tasking, sensory integration, left/right discrimination, motor planning, patterning, and visual/spatial perception.
Educational benefits through play, riders learn to identify colors, numbers, shapes, animals, etc.
Social benefits - Friendships, development of respect for individuals and animals, love for animals, personal bonds, increased experiences, and enjoyment.
Riding for adults is a great way to achieve and/or maintain physical fitness, increase balance, increase flexibility, encourage better posture, lead to better cardio-vascular functioning, improve motor functioning, and help to achieve greater independence.
It is the goal of Dream Catcher L.A. to have a positive impact on every client’s personal life by enhancing their physical well-being, cognitive abilities and communication skills, all the while building self-esteem and confidence.
Who benefits from Therapeutic Riding:• Cerebral Palsy• ADD/ADHD• PTSD• Down Syndrome• Autism Spectrum Disorder• Developmental Delays• Paraplegia• Traumatic brain injury• Multiple sclerosis• Muscular dystrophy• Reactive Attachment Disorder• Bipolar Disorder• Mental Retardation• Hearing impairments• Visual impairments
Therapeutic riding techniques were used by the ancient Romans and Greeks to rehabilitate their soldiers. Today’s techniques started with Lis Hartel from Denmark. Her legs were paralyzed from polio but with horse therapy she was able to win the Silver Medal for dressage in the 1952 Olympic Games. The first riding centers in England and North America began in the 1960′s.The amount of benefit gained through therapeutic riding differs from person to person based on many factors such as the type of disability, severity of disability, motivation of the rider and connection between horse and rider. Unlike exercise machines that only focus on one muscle group at a time and do not use natural body movements, riding forces the rider to make use of the entire body to steer, control, adjust the horse and maintain balance. Because horses require not only physical skill but also cognitive skill for achievement, riding reveals the strengths and weaknesses of the rider.
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