Is Horseback Riding Therapy good for Riders with Disability?

13/01/2024

Riders with Disability

There is a common misconception that horseback riding is good therapy for people who are physically able-bodied. This could not be further from the truth! In fact, horseback riding is an excellent therapy for riders with disabilities. Whether you have a physical disability, cognitive impairment, or genetic disorder, equine therapy can help improve your quality of life.

In this blog post, we will discuss the Is Horseback Riding Good Therapy for Riders with Disability and how you can get involved in this therapeutic activity.

What is Horseback Riding, and what effect does it have on a person’s life?

Horseback riding good therapy that involves mounting and riding a horse. People can use it for recreation, competition, or transportation. Apart from these activities, horses can also be used in therapy. According to experiences by occupational and physical therapists, this exercise has a significant effect on patients.

The session will include basic tasks such as horse grooming, tacking, walking, and riding the horse to keep things interesting. Horseback riding has been shown to benefit riders with disabilities, including improved physical fitness, cognitive function, and emotional well-being.

What Are the Benefits of Horseback Riding for People with Disabilities?

There are many benefits to horseback riding for people with disabilities. These benefits include improved physical fitness, cognitive function, and emotional well-being. Physical fitness is one of the main benefits of horseback riding for people with disabilities. When you ride a horse, you are using all of your muscles.

This is an excellent workout for your entire body! In addition, horseback riding therapy can help improve your balance and coordination. This is especially great for people with disabilities such as:

  • Downs Syndrome
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Cognitive function is another critical benefit of horseback riding for people with disabilities. Riding a horse requires focus and concentration. It is a great way to improve your attention span and problem-solving skills. Horseback riding can also help improve your memory and reasoning skills. Equine therapy is reported to help people with cognitive disabilities, including:

  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • Traumatic brain injury-related injuries

Emotional well-being is another benefit of horseback riding for people with disabilities. Horseback riding can be very calming and relaxing. It can help reduce stress and anxiety levels.

In addition, horseback riding can boost self-confidence and self-esteem. Many emotional disorders can be treated through equine therapy. Some of these disorders include:

– Anxiety

– Depression

– Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

– Bipolar Disorder

– Social Anxiety Disorder

Physical Benefits of Horseback Riding for People with Disabilities

  • Improved coordination

Horseback riding requires the use of all your muscles. This is a great workout for your entire body and can help improve your coordination.

  • Improved balance

Riding a horse helps improve your balance. This is especially beneficial for people with disabilities such as Down’s syndrome, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injuries.

  • Improved fitness

Horseback riding is a great way to get exercise. It can help improve your cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, and flexibility.

  • Reduces muscle spasms

Horseback riding has been shown to reduce muscle spasms. This benefits people with conditions such as cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis.

Cognitive Benefits of Horseback Riding for People with Disabilities

  • Improved attention span

Riding a horse requires focus and concentration. This can help improve your attention span.

  • Improved memory

Horseback riding can help improve your memory. This benefits people with disabilities such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.

  • Improved problem-solving skills

Horseback riding can help improve your problem-solving skills. This is beneficial for people with disabilities such as traumatic brain injury and attention deficit disorder.

Emotional Benefits of Horseback Riding for People with Disabilities

  • Reduced stress and anxiety

Horseback riding can be very calming and relaxing. It can help reduce your stress and anxiety levels.

  • Boosted self-confidence and self-esteem

Horseback riding can boost your self-confidence and self-esteem. This is beneficial for people with emotional disorders such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. A study showed that horseback riding reduced depression by up to 30%.

  • Improved social skills

Horseback riding can help improve your social skills. This is beneficial for people with social anxiety disorder and autism spectrum disorder.

Is Horseback Riding an Alternative Treatment for People with Disabilities?

No, it is not. However, many therapists and doctors recommend using it to supplement traditional treatment. These combined efforts often produce great results.

Frequently Asked Questions About How Horseback Riding is Beneficial to People with Disabilities

How Good is Horseback Riding for Individuals with Disabilities?

Horseback riding is a great recreational activity for people living with disabilities. Equine therapy helps empower and improve their lives whether they have physical, cognitive, or emotional disabilities.

Does horseback riding help people with disabilities?

Yes, horseback riding can help people with disabilities in many ways. It can improve their attention span, memory, problem-solving, and social skills. It can also reduce stress and anxiety levels and boost self-confidence and self-esteem.

What types of disabilities can benefit from horseback riding?

Horseback riding can help people with physical disabilities, cognitive impairments, and genetic disorders. It can also help people with emotional disorders such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

How often should people with disabilities ride horses?

There is no set answer to this question. It depends on the individual’s needs and goals. Some people may ride once a week, while others may ride multiple times a week.

What are the risks of horseback riding for disabled people?

Some risks are associated with horseback riding, but these can be mitigated with proper safety precautions. Some of the risks include falls, injuries, and horse bites.

Can everyone participate in horseback riding, or is it only for certain people?

Horseback riding is open to everyone, but it is essential to consult with a doctor or therapist before starting, especially for people with certain medical conditions.

How Does an Average Equine Therapy Session Entail?

First, therapists believe that the rider should choose their horse. This helps boost their confidence as they wait to start the session. After that, the rider should start grooming and tacking the horse. This is also part of the therapy session as it helps the rider get a sense of accomplishment in something they’ve done on their own.

It also helps them to bond with the animal before mounting the saddle. After the horse is groomed and tacked, the rider then gets on the horse. In most cases, there are usually three people on the call to assist the rider. There is one assistant on either side and one on the horse with the rider to guarantee safety of the rider.

However, the set-up might change from centre to centre according to what the rider needs.

Some professional coaches attend these sessions to help the riders do everything correctly on the horse.

Are there different equine Competitions for People with Disabilities (Para-equestrian)?

Yes, equine competitions for people with disabilities (Para-equestrian) do exist. Horseback riding is one of the most popular Paralympic sports. There are many types of equine competitions for people with disabilities, including dressage, show jumping, and eventing.

What’s the Difference Between Hippotherapy and Therapeutic Riding?

Therapeutic riding, or equine-assisted therapy, is a form of rehabilitation that uses horseback riding as a treatment tool. On the other hand, hippotherapy is a form of physiotherapy that uses the horse’s movement to provide treatment.