Today we’re shifting gears slightly. Most of the off-horse activities we have been talking about have all been related to the horse. This week, I want to talk about gardening. How is this related to horses? Let me tell you.
One benefit I haven’t talked much about with horses is the simple, powerful benefit of being outside. Horses encourage us to be outside and engage with nature just by their natural state of being outside, in nature. Gardening is another great way to get in nature and get some physical movement so it parallels well with horse activities.
Gardening can teach students about nourishment, caring for something, the importance of watering a plant (and self), and teach a new hobby. I have seen several centers that have a garden as part of their off-horse activities and they grow plants and vegetables for the horses and clients to enjoy when they bloom. This includes things like carrots, corn, and grass.
Gardening also encourages physical movement and a mind-body connection through the normal movements associated with gardening, like bending, pulling, and stretching. It encourages sensory activation through the different textures, scents, and visualness of soil, plants, flowers, and seeds.
Some accomodations may need to be made for the population you serve like raised garden beds, accessible pathways, types of gloves, and adaptive tools to use. With a little bit of forethought and effort, a garden can be a great, easy way to bring something new and interesting to your off-horse activities!
Do you garden with your students? Do you see how it can be beneficial? Leave a comment below!