Mental Retardation and Therapeutic Riding

Mental Retardation and Therapeutic Riding

Reprinted from NARHA Strides magazine, January 1997 (Vol. 3, No. 1)

Many authorities agree that people with mental retardation develop in the same way as people without mental retardation, but at a slower rate. Others suggest that persons with mental retardation have difficulties in particular areas of basic thinking and learning such as attention, perception or memory.  Depending on the extent of the impairment—mild, moderate, severe or profound—individuals with mental retardation will develop differently in academic, social and vocational skills.

Medical Considerations for Therapeutic Riding

By Liz Baker, PT, Medical Committee Chairman

There is great variety in abilities, motivation and functional life skills within the group of people diagnosed as mentally retarded. In fact, “People with mental retardation are as different from one another as are people without mental retardation—perhaps even more so.” This is a consideration for the therapeutic riding program and its staff planning to serve this population; it is arguably easier to plan for riders who have similarities rather than so much diversity.