Equine-Assisted Therapy (EAT) or Therapeutic Riding includes equine activities and/or an equine environment in order to promote physical, occupational, and emotional growth in persons suffering from ADHD, Anxiety, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Dementia, Depression, Developmental Delay, Genetic Syndromes (such as Down Syndrome), traumatic brain injuries, behavioral issues, abuse issues, and many other mental health problems.
It is extremely important to note that the objective of EAT is not to teach an individual horseback riding skills but to address several physiological and psychological aspects in combination with other forms of therapy such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy and psychological therapy.
Therapeutic riding activities are developed on a case to case basis, with a specific goal plan and activities are reviewed from time-to-time.
Equine-Assisted Therapy can help the individual build confidence, self- efficiency, communication, trust, perspective, social skills, impulse control, and learn boundaries. Since horses demonstrate similar behavior as humans, such as social and responsive behaviors, it is easy for the individuals to develop a connection with the horse.
The gait of a horse is known to be similar to the gait of a human, enabling riders develop muscle tone and enhanced upper body balance, enabling ‘Proprioception’ – the neurological ability of the body to sense movement and position.
Special saddles and gear available for individuals with lack of upper-body support.
DID YOU KNOW?
Equine-Assisted Therapies (EAT) have been recognized in the medical and mental health field by most major countries.
Some examples of EAT activities include:
Tacking and grooming of a horse to develop sequencing, cognition and memory skills
Walking a horse which helps develop a relationship with the animal
Games and activities on horseback such as pegging cones on poles, throwing balls, balancing exercises, muscle coordination exercises, and also provides for great vestibular action, especially for autistic individuals