Horseback riding is all about balance. Staying centered and balanced on the horse makes it easier to stay on if a horse spooks, takes a misstep, or does something unexpected. Balanced riders also keep their horses content. Think of a backpack on your back. If it’s sliding to one side, you are constantly shrugging your shoulder to center the bag. The horse feels the same way with an off-center rider.
In therapeutic riding, many riders struggle with balanced, centered riding so how do we work on it in lessons to make our clients better riders and our horses more content?
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.
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.