Taking Turns

I recently began the process of getting my Masters in Speech-Language Pathology and it is fascinating! Expect the content here on this blog to reflect more of what I am learning and how it can be helpful in therapeutic horseback riding. One interesting tidbit I learned is how taking turns is a precursor to a conversation.

Conversations are all about taking turns. One person speaks, one listens and comprehends, then responds. Conversation requires the participants to focus and engage in social interaction. It requires listening, understanding, and responding.

These same skills are used in horseback riding. Riding requires communication with the horse, instructors, and volunteers. Clients need to listen to their horses and respond to what their horse communicates. The client communicates to their horse and waits for the horse to respond. This back-and-forth of communication can be simulated in taking turns.

If clients are in a group lesson, have them take turns in a game. One client completes a task, then the next client does. If clients are in a private session, have the client take turns with the instructor or volunteer. Take turns during the warm-up. Have one client lead and the other copy, then switch who is leading. If it’s a private lesson, have the instructor and client take turns leading.

Taking turns helps clients learn to wait, focus, respond, and engage. Taking turns while riding can translate to taking turns in school, while playing with others, and yes, in conversation. Concentrate on alternating between clients and observe the changes over time when clients learn to take turns.

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