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.
What You Need:
Catching and throwing is something most of us never think about. We might have played sports growing up (or still do). Maybe we played catch in the yard. Maybe we participated in an egg toss at the county fair. No, that one is just me? Well, you get the picture. I want to talk about catching and throwing as a lesson objective today.
The series continues! We’ve talked about gross motor skills and fine motor skills and how to help develop those motor skills with off horse activities. Today I want to bring the horse back in to the conversation. As horsepeople, we know that riding is only a small part of being around the horse. Feeding, bathing, hand walking, turning out, medical care, grooming, cleaning tack, and so many other tasks make up our time with horses.
If we want our riders to develop deeper relationships with the horses, what better way to do that than through grooming?
Last week we talked about developing fine motor skills through off horse activities. Today, we are going to discuss the other main motor skills: gross motor skills. Gross motor skills help us walk, throw, catch, and balance. These motor skills form the basis for fine motor skills so it is just as important to focus on gross motor skills as fine motor skills.
Luckily, the horse helps develop gross motor skills. The balance, posture, core strength and horse movement all positively impact gross motor skills. However, today is about developing those gross motor skills off the horse so let’s get to it!