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.
Therapeutic riding serves people with almost any physical, emotional, cognitive, or behavioral disability. I could keep this series going all year and probably barely scratch the surface of who therapeutic riding benefits. I decided to focus on these five disabilities because they are some of the most common needs we serve in the therapeutic riding industry.
We will wrap up this series talking about cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy (CP) is a blanket term for disorders that affect a person’s ability to move. People with CP may struggle to maintain balance and posture, may have difficulty with fine motor skills, and may have muscle weaknesses. This is where horseback riding can help, as long as the client does not have a contraindication to mounted work.
Today, more than ever, it is important to check in with yourself. As caregivers, we need to protect ourselves from the daily grind of our work. At the PATH, Intl. National Conference there was a session on preventing burnout and safeguarding your own mental health. I previously wrote a post about self-care here but today I want to talk about finding support.
Horses are therapeutic for the body, mind, and soul. I firmly believe that, but there are also studies that have been done and are being done to confirm that. Several of these studies focus on the benefits of therapeutic riding for a specific disability. One commonly studied disability in therapeutic riding is multiple sclerosis (MS).