In therapeutic riding, we often see clients who have issues with muscle tone. Hypertonia and hypotonia are two terms used to describe muscle tone. Hypertonia means high muscle tone and lack of flexibility. This often involves stiff movements and poor balance. Hypotonia means low muscle tone and too much flexibility, which can result in difficulty lifting limbs or struggling with fine and gross motor activities.
Therapeutic riding can help both hypertonia and hypotonia as long as there are no contraindications to riding.
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.
Horses are the lifeblood of our programs. Without the horse, therapeutic riding does not exist. So how do we make sure we are choosing the right horse? First, we need to identify the individual needs of our center. This includes looking at strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities. After we do that, we can start discussing how to choose a horse.
The greatest lesson horses have taught me is to meet people where they are in that moment. Because horses are prey animals, they only live in the present. They need to be constantly aware of their surroundings in order to adapt to a situation on a moment’s notice; this does not allow them to dwell on the past or future.
We’ve all been there. Trying to deal with a difficult person and feeling like no matter what, you can’t win. It can be a difference of personalities, opinions, communication, or simply not getting along with someone. That’s all okay – you don’t have to like every person in the world (and they don’t have to like you)! However, we ALL need to deal with people we don’t always understand.