Why the horse?
Horses have been used as a form of therapy for disabled children & adults for many years.
The horse is a living, thinking, and responsive animal and the real beauty of working with horses is that it is hands on not a text book experience therefore you have a concrete response to what you do and a living creature that wants to build not only a working relationship with you but a genuine relationship.
As you have probably worked out riding is only a part of what we do.
The first thought is always with the child, what are their problems, what area of horse care will benefit them most.
Focusing on the needs of the child necessitates that we may prioritise learning, for example:
- Learning about diet may be a requirement for the diabetic or anorexic.
- Communication is important for the slow learner.
- Balancing exercise and rest for the child with a heart condition.
- And riding for disabled people to help build core strength.
How does learning about the horse help the child?
Let us look at diet, the child learns about balancing a diet to accommodate work, rest and play, healthy eating
if you like, they learn about carbohydrates, sugars, protein, fats, this in turn helps them to accommodate their condition and plan their own balanced diet.
When you were at school did fractions get the better of you? but to know and measure, that the horse has a whole scoop full of chaff and a third measure of garlic for dinner helps to understand fractions.
Personal Hygiene can be a problem for any one with special needs, for example why do we pick horses hooves out, simply by learning this helps to promote keeping our own feet healthy. Horses need grooming every day and even need to be bathed and have their manes and tails shampooed, if you can bath a horse there is no reason why you shouldn’t do the same for yourself.
If communication is the barrier then the horse is the perfect teacher, horses in their natural environment live as a herd, they are flight animals and communicate through body language, a session with one of our horses involves working on the ground to develop trust, control & communication, results can happen very quickly with the importance of body positions, gestures, breathing and voice.
Many children have had to go through the trauma of being diagnosed with a lifetime condition which can often lead to little or no confidence and low self-esteem. Our first aim is to prove to the child they are capable and can succeed in other areas. Once confidence has been restored the emotional and behavioural issues are addressed.
We have an understanding of what helps and hinders children and adults personal development.
We have seen some positive results with Autism, ADHD and other emotional & learning disabilities.