Learning Disabilities and Therapeutic Riding

Learning Disabilities and Therapeutic Riding

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

The term “learning disabilities” is all embracing; it describes a syndrome, not a specific person with a specific problem. Individuals with learning disabilities are not mentally retarded. Learning disabilities are neurologically based disorders and do not affect a person’s intelligence.

Medical Considerations for Therapeutic Riding

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

The horse can also help improve the rider’s sensorimotor difficulties and the learning problems by providing a means of improving awkward movement. It is thought that our early learning of good movement skills is closely related to our self-concept and self-confidence. Poor movement and clumsiness makes play difficult. Children with learning disabilities and motor dysfunction are ostracized by their peers, made fun of and picked last – or not at all – for group games. Thus, socialization skills are impaired as well. The horse can act as a great “equalizer,” providing sensorimotor input and opportunities to practice many skills in a non-threatening way and equally with others.