Horseback riding is a proven therapeutic technique for children with a variety of physical, emotional and mental disabilities. How does therapeutic riding help? Physically, the gentle and rhythmic motion of a horse's gait increases the rider's muscle strength while also improving coordination, balance and flexibility. For children with emotional or mental disabilities, the special bond formed with a horse can lead to increased self-confidence; enhanced self-esteem; improved decision-making and social skills; increased patience, and a strong sense of achievement.
Among our many accomplishments, we take particular pride in the many "firsts" that we've seen at Horses for Healing. These include the beaming grin on the face of a child who doesn't smile. The gripping hug of a child who doesn't trust. A first word spoken. Or that first halting step ever taken.
Therapeutic riding should only be considered in cooperation with medical professionals and each rider must have a physician's approval to participate. Special attention also is given to input from therapists, teachers and other professionals involved in a child's overall care.
For additional information on therapeutic riding, visit the website at http://www.pathintl.org