29 March 2018
Throughout history, horses have played an important role in our lives. They were a necessity of life until the modernisation of society.
Today, horses are used for many different purposes. While some are still utilised for working farms and ranches, a much larger number are used purely for recreational activities. Horses are also used in therapeutic programs that deliver many positive experiences for people with disability, including:
IMPROVEMENTS IN FINE MOTOR SKILLS
Interacting with horses whether it be riding or on the ground improves fine motor skills and manual dexterity requiring use of small muscles for things like grooming, saddling, and use of reins whilst riding.
IMPROVED GROSS MOTOR SKILLS
During riding you use muscles which belong to your “large muscle” group. Riding improves your ability to use these muscles as you learn to rise and sit with the horse’s rhythm. Mounting and dismounting also contributes to one’s gross motor skills.
IMPROVED MOTOR COORDINATION AND BALANCE
Riding a horse requires coordination and balance, therapeutic horse riding typically improves these areas in a rider. Mounting, dismounting, stopping and moving with the horse along with holding correct posture all work together to help your muscles learn to work together and maintain balance. With time and practice vast improvements in this area have been noted.
A horses movement also helps build core strength for his/her rider, the unique movement pattern of a horse along with the rider holding posture and balance helps the rider to build muscles in the back, stomach, upper body and legs.
DEVELOPS & IMPROVES SOCIAL SKILLS
The improvement starts with the wonderful bond that is naturally built between the horse and rider during lessons which are given and because the instructors are part of this experience it is natural for a relationship to develop through conversation.
POSITIVE SENSORY STIMULATION
Horses are extremely beneficial for stimulating all your senses particularly for people with disorders such as autism. Sound, touch and smell as well as motion are all senses triggered whilst riding, creating a positive experience.
At Interchange Australia, clients in our Day Options Program regularly visit Eureka Horse Wisdom. These sessions primarily focus on sensory stimulation and socialisation skills with the clients bonding with the horses.
Our Peer Support clients have recently commenced attending Scenic Equine Centre which will now focus on fine and gross motor skills, core strengthening, coordination and balance as well as sensory stimulation, socialisation and education.
For more information about these activities, please call me on 1300 112 334.
For more information about the therapeutic benefits of horses, please visit the State Line Tack website, the main point of reference for this article.