Depending on the disability, research has shown the benefits of horseback riding include self-confidence through enhanced self image, improved learning, concentration, spatial awareness, and motivation to set and achieve goals. Riders also benefit emotionally, through the unique bonds they form with their horses and our incredibly dedicated staff. And, perhaps most important, is that riding a horse is fun! A strong sense of responsibility develops as the rider learns to take part in the care of the horses and equipment.
Riders are encouraged to participate as much as they can in grooming, saddling, and guiding the horse. Praise and encouragement are constant from the staff and instructors. Every success is acknowledged, no matter how small.
Additional benefits of therapy riding classes include: strengthening cognitive and sequential thinking, problem solving, confidence and self esteem building, exposure to positive role models and mentors, and movement toward achieving individual goals set by schools and therapists.
Therapeutic riding also promotes socialization. Instructors, therapists, volunteers, parents and riders get together. Often the social interaction becomes as important as the riding lesson. Friendships are made, acceptable behaviors are reinforced and unacceptable behaviors are discouraged. A human-animal bond develops between riders and their therapy horses as riders discover that the horses are gentle, friendly, accepting, and do not see disabilities.
Therapeutic horse therapy helps address a variety of mental health and developmental needs including the following: