Equine Therapy

Advantages of Equine Therapy and Adaptive Riding

Equine therapy, also known as horseback therapy, is a way to teach and treat a number of disorders including many handicaps. The basic goal of adaptive training is to teach a patient horseback riding skills and to set individual therapeutic goals based on the condition of the patient, which can be reached with the help of equine therapy.

Horseback riding techniques are used to treat a number of conditions, including:

If you have been considering equine therapy for yourself or a loved one, here are a few things that you should know about the therapy and its process.

Finding a Therapist Who Offers Equine Therapy

Equine therapy is a relatively new form of psychotherapy, so it’s important to check the credentials of a therapist before signing up for this type of treatment. There are several organizations that offer certification or general tips that can help you decide which equine assisted therapy courses are credible. One such organization is the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association, which offers a number of resources for families and for handicapped individuals. The National Center for Equine Facilitated Therapy is another such organization.

Most therapists work closely with horse trainers rather than taking on all of the aspects of the therapy themselves, although it’s possible to find a therapist who also handles the duties of a trainer. Horses used in equine therapy must be specially trained. This is essential, because untrained horses may be too impatient or dangerous for use in equine-assisted therapy.

Why Horseback Riding for the Handicapped is Worthwhile

An equine therapy course can help patients both physically and emotionally. Learning to ride a horse is a very social activity that requires a lot of patience and focus. It can also require good coordination, which is developed while the rider learns how to handle the animal. The skills of horseback riding are very useful throughout life, and patients who take horseback therapy often feel that it is a fun and unique way to learn these skills. Many patients respond better to equine assisted activities due to the presence of the animal and the low-pressure environment.

Equine Assisted Activities: Dangers and Limitations

Some worry about the dangers of horseback riding in general and equine therapy specifically. According to some equine therapy experts, part of the value of the therapy is the possibility of the unpredictable; when something happens that’s out of the patient’s control, the patient will have to react in order to deal with the new situation. This can be a good tactic for addressing fears and inhibitions arising from a handicap of any kind. The actual danger from the horse itself is also minimized, as equine therapy horses are specially trained, monitored, and constantly checked to ensure a safe experience for all patients.

There are also obvious limitations to equine assisted therapy. However, these are best addressed through a patient’s relationship with his or her therapist. Only a licensed professional can help you decide whether equine assisted activities are appropriate for your conditions or the conditions of your family member. Find a licensed professional and be prepared to discuss the specifics of the condition in order to determine whether the benefits of equine therapy will be worthwhile in your situation.

When used correctly, equine assisted therapy can be a fantastic form of treatment for a number of different types of issues. If you are interested in horseback riding as a form of therapy, contact a professional right away.


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