Equine Assisted Activities

It is widely recognised that the interaction between people and horses has a powerful and varied benefit. The benefits are physical, mental, emotional and intellectual. Horses complement the work of many practioners, Physiotherapists, OT’s, Speech Therapist’s, Educationalists and Psychotherapists among others, use equine facilitated activity to enhance their work. The movement of the horse’s walk closely mimics the human walk. The horse’s walk stimulates and synthesises human walk making it a transformational treatment base. The scope for transferring learning from the horse’s environment to life skills acquisition is significant.

Here’s a link to the video Horse Assisted Therapy at Oslo University Hospital (Norway).

Interaction with a horse can include riding, carriage driving, vaulting and horsemastership.

The benefits of riding for people with disabilities have been recognised for over three thousand years.

Equine Assisted Activities

Physical disabilities ranging from cerebral palsy to accidental injury. cognitive difficulties and disabilities, mental illness, autism, developmental delay and emotional disorders have all responded positively to equine facilitated activity. Individuals who are unable to bear weight are often limited to swimming. Riding offers an effective alternative to develop muscle tone and improve posture, with the added advantage of the dynamics of the horse’s movement. The bond that develops between human and horse also opens up many new opportunities, such as independence and responsibility.

Benefits Include

  • Improvement in joint mobility, balance and coordination
  • Changes in muscle tone
  • Increased self-confidence through improved self-image
  • Improved learning, concentration, spatial awareness
  • An incentive and opportunity to take responsibility and control
  • The transfer of learning outcomes in an equine environment to daily living skills
  • Motivation to set and achieve goals

Medical guidance and approval is essential for the safety and protection of everyone involved. With few exceptions, persons with disabilities may safely and beneficially engage in a number of therapeutic equestrian activities.

Hippotherapy is a medically prescribed procedure conducted by health care professionals.