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 pattern is another very fun pattern to do in lessons. It can be repeated for several lessons in a row and it can be done in a group or individual lesson. Spirals get smaller and then larger which encourages balance, core strength, steering, and independent use of aids.
Figure eights are the combination of circles and a serpentine. A proper figure eight should be two even circles connected through the middle with a small straight line to change the bend. There are numerous ways to scale this pattern which is why I frequently use it in lessons.
I love serpentines! They are probably my favorite pattern to teach in lessons (mounted and unmounted) and to ride on my own. Serpentines are easy to do in a group lesson, require minimal or no equipment and can be done in a small or large space. They are versatile and can be scaled for any level of rider.
A quick note before I dive in to today’s blog. I try to write and schedule my blog posts ahead of time as much as possible. I have a baby, a busy job, and a busy life so I write and schedule whenever I can. I wrote the next few weeks of lesson plans before the COVID-19 pandemic happened so you will not see any references to it in these posts. For my thoughts on the pandemic and how the therapeutic riding industry is stepping up, see my post here.
Back to our regular programming… The next few weeks will focus on patterns. We use a lot of pattern work at our center because it is easily adaptable to any client and it is the basis of all horseback riding. I rode dressage for years so I love pattern work! One of my favorite patterns is the basic circle.