What You Need:
Catching and throwing is something most of us never think about. We might have played sports growing up (or still do). Maybe we played catch in the yard. Maybe we participated in an egg toss at the county fair. No, that one is just me? Well, you get the picture. I want to talk about catching and throwing as a lesson objective today.
Catching and throwing require gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and focus. In order to catch an object, you need to look at the object. To throw, you need to know where you are throwing and have enough control of the arm and fingers to direct the object and release it. I love to play catching games with my clients because there are so many variations.
I like to start with a large item, like a ball or stuffed animal. Balls can be the easiest because they are made to throw. Stuffed animals can be another good option because they are soft, easy to toss, and most clients (especially kids) are used to holding them.
I usually start catching and throwing from the whoa at a very close distance. I’ll stand right beside the rider and ask them to drop the object in to my hands to simulate throwing. As the rider gets more comfortable, I will step further away or ask the horse to walk on. Throwing can be easier for clients because it requires less hand-eye coordination if they just drop the item. Instructor can make it more difficult by aiming the object toward a hoop, a ring, or to a person.
Catching often requires a little more setup for the client. Sometimes I will help the client get their hands in the correct position then aim the object directly into their hands. Again, I usually start at the whoa standing very close to the rider. As the rider gets more comfortable, I do this at the walk or further away from the rider.
Do you do a lot of catching and throwing with your riders? Do you find it helpful for their motor skill development? Leave a comment below and let me know!
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