Adaptive Therapeutic Horseback Riding
Adaptive horseback riding is a recreational activity that teaches horseback riding skills that are adapted to each individual’s abilities and goals. Certified instructors focus on a person’s abilities rather than a disability. Lessons are fun and educational and incorporate activities that build horseback riding skills along with confidence, core strength, and social skills, gross and fine motor skills, eye/hand coordination, balance, problem-solving skills, and sensory integration.
Horseback riding is inherently a therapeutic activity that additionally offers the physically challenged rider benefits due to the horse’s multi-dimensional movement. When a person sits on a horse the movement of the horse walking mimics the gait of a person walking in the rider’s pelvis and core. This movement is what enhances physical strength, increased range of motion and improved posture. In an adaptive therapeutic horseback riding lesson, educational opportunities are incorporated using activities designed to reach their goals. If a rider’s goal is counting the instructor may have the rider play the dice game. During the dice game, the rider counts the dots, tells the horse to take that many steps then asks the horse to stop. Playing this simple game the rider is counting with one on one correspondence then feeling that movement in their body and counting, using their verbal skills and horseback riding skills. Riders may have Autism, Asperger’s, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, spina bifida, Fragile X, developmental delays, learning disabilities, sensory processing disorder, and traumatic brain injury. Horseback riding offers benefits for every rider.
Riding with HEART’s instructors are Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructors through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International (PATH). http://www.pathintl.org. Riding with HEART’s instructors are First Aid and CPR certified and maintain their certification through ongoing training and continuing education credits each year.