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, I am continuing our disabilities series today with Down Syndrome.
Down Syndrome is a genetic disorder that is commonly associated with developmental delays, poor muscle tone, and cognitive impairment. Early therapy interventions can have a positive impact on children with Down Syndrome. Therapeutic horseback riding may be one such intervention used to help with physical, cognitive, social, and behavioral issues.
Please note: therapeutic horseback riding is NOT therapy unless it is done under the supervision of a therapist in hippotherapy settings.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition that can cause difficulty staying focused and controlling impulsive behavior. It is a very common and may be a stand-alone diagnosis or a coexisting condition, typically diagnosed along with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
People with ADHD can be easily distracted, have trouble sitting still, and difficulty waiting their turn. These tendencies fit well with some of the benefits therapeutic riding or equine-assisted activities can provide.
I am kicking off a new series today! Therapeutic riding is becoming more popular and more well-known as a therapeutic option in the special needs community. There is more research being done on the positive benefits of therapeutic riding for specific needs, including veterans, depression, and foster families. This series will explore the impact of therapeutic riding on specific disabilities. We will start with one of the most common disabilities that therapeutic riding centers see is clients with autism.
This could also be two separate posts, but it’s time for me to wrap up the Off Horse Activities Series. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these posts and have learned something new! If you have been able to apply any of this in your own work, leave a comment! I would love to know.
But alas, it is time to turn toward our final post of the series: Markings & Attitudes of the Horse.