Therapeutic Horse Riding
Sessions in general last for between 20-30 minutes and take place in the riding arena, along our purpose-made woodland rides and fields.
Why horse riding?
Riding a horse has been recognised as a beneficial source of exercise for over two thousand years. Beyond the benefits of sitting astride the horse's physical movement, horse riding allows the participant to enjoy being in the countryside, connect with horses, make new friends and work towards new personal ambitions.
At the AVCP we are fortunate to have a variety of horses which are suitable for such riding sessions. We also have a very large mounting block which has room for three adults standing on the top step, this allows for extra support of the participant as they mount the horse. For younger riders we often use a sheepskin with solid hand hoop for added security. Our sessions regularly benefit participants with Autism, Cerebral palsy, Learning disabilities, acquired brain injury and Down's syndrome.
So, how is horse riding therapeutic?
The horses movement, which is multidimensional, variable, rhythmic and repetitive improves the muscle tone, posture, co-ordination, strength, flexibility and cognitive skills of the rider.
- The horses gait closely mimics that of a human, riding gently and rhythmically moves the rider's body in a manner comparable to walking.
- A horses body runs 4-5 degrees higher than a humans, extra warmth can help reduce spasticity and stretch muscles.
- There are psychological benefits to horse riding, an improvement in self-confidence, general sense of wellbeing, better emotional control and self- discipline.
“The range of needs that our pupils have is huge; some have physical disabilities, some have multi sensory impairments and some have severe autistic spectrum disorders and some have a combination of disabilities; all of them have complex conditions. You and your staff have embraced our pupils in a very positive way, this not only helps to make them feel good about themselves but it also has a really positive impact on our staff.
Our children learn and develop through the riding and driving experiences you provide.
They improve their knowledge and understanding of others and other living beings, they develop a better sense of balance, they are inclined to communicate better because the motivation of riding is so great and they leave the stables relaxed and happy. At school we look to improve pupils’ learning through the five common senses of taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing, and we also aim to improve skills by developing the vestibular and proprioceptive senses; riding and driving help to develop these.”