Behavioral Health and Therapeutic Riding

Behavioral Health and Therapeutic Riding

Reprinted from NARHA Strides magazine, January 1996 (Vol. 2, No. 1)
The riders are brought each week by a teacher who knows they can learn better if they feel better about themselves. They are brought by therapists who hope that horses can reconnect lost feelings, bring back “good touch,” rekindle the love that has been missing in the lives of their patients who have endured years of sexual abuse, physical violence and neglect. Psychiatrists who know that thrill seeking needs can be met in a healthier way than by drugs send them. They come with probation officers that do not want to see the cycle of poverty, abuse and detention continue in yet another generation.  The lineup of people, both young and old, needing the healing power of the horse, riding, being a part of a farm, or finding a new community of caring people goes on and on.
Medical Considerations for Therapeutic Riding

Reprinted from NARHA Strides magazine, January 1996 (Vol. 2, No. 1)

These skills naturally evolve for a child who is eager to be with a horse because a horse is extremely “hands on”. Barns and farms demands lots of movement, physical activity, thus they are ideal environments for children to thrive. Also, because horses are bigger than kids are, respect happens naturally. Boundaries and limits make sense. Order prevails. From respect, boundaries, order and all of the critical skills needed to learn can be practiced. It makes sense to the student to follow directions, do things in a logical sequence, work with the group, focus, finish the job, trust the teacher. As these critical skills are practiced, rewards for the child happen naturally, automatically. Best of all, the child can feel within that he did it “right” because the horse responded. No judgement, no blame, no shame.