Precautions and Contraindications

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Precautions and contraindications are an important consideration of equine assisted activities and therapies (EAAT). Precautions are concerns that need to be further investigated by talking to a physician, mental health professional, or therapist who treats the client. Contraindications mean that the activity is inappropriate.

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Steering

Image by Miriam Müller from Pixabay

Using the reins is one of the fundamental horseback riding skills. The reins are only used to stop and steer the horse and steering is what we teach after riders learn to whoa. Proper steering requires riders to use arms independently in a forward-back movement. It involves the shoulders, wrists, fingers, core, eyes, and head.

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Trust Exercises with Your Horse

Trust is an important part of any relationship. It is what we need to have an effective partnership with our horses and is a good foundation for any relationship. Some people subscribe to the “trust is earned” mantra but I tend to trust from the start, especially with my horses. I build trust with my horses through trust exercises.

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Setting Expectations

Every horse is perfect. Every client is capable. As we return to lessons and our barns fill up with clients and volunteers and our horses take on a workload again, it is important to have grace for everyone.

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Leave It at the Door

It is an exciting (and scary) time. Some therapeutic riding centers are re-opening while others continue to find ways to offer services virtually and stay connected online. My current center is fortunate to be able to get back to lessons, but we are back with new restrictions and safety regulations to keep our clients, volunteers, and staff healthy. It has been difficult to stay motivated and make plans with the world on edge.

However, there have been a few silver linings! One is the health and happiness of our horses. Our horses have gotten regular exercise with balanced, experienced riders. They have less people touching them and their ground manners have vastly improved. Our staff has discussed how to keep our horses happy as the activity at the barn picks up.

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