Therapeutic horseback riding


Therapeutic horseback riding

Therapeutic horseback riding, also known as an Equine Assisted Activity, or " Adaptive Riding" is for individuals with a range of physical, emotional, cognitive, and social disabilities. There are several different kinds of programs that utilize horses and horseback riding for recreational benefits. Equine Assisted Activities are especially targeted for children with disabilities. However, these activities can offered to people with disabilities of all ages. In an Equine Assisted Activities program, a certified or specially trained riding instructor is teaching a person with a disability how to ride a horse. However, the environment of the horse can provide more than just riding skills. The programs which offer the equine environment to people with disabilities can learn companionship, responsibility, leadership, vocational, educational skills as well as offer competition venues in the different horse disaplines. Riding a horse provides a unique and often profound recreational or leisure activity for many people. There are many sports which people who have disabilities can participant in for enhancing their lives which offer social and physical fitness as addressed in the Special Olympic programs for people with a cognative disability.There are hundreds of programs around the world as well as many organizations dedicated to the various forms of horseback riding or horse care which address many other disabilities and may not have a cognitive disability. The student who interact with their horse may extend this to others and to form meaningful relationships with people. Building a relationship with an animal is very rewarding in many aspects; for a person with an emotional, social or psychological disability, the trust and loyalty of an animal demonstrates to the student how important they are and then they may extend these attributes to personal relationships. Horses also help people feel in control of their situation because there is a direct correlation between action and reaction. To learn how to care for and ride a horse, a student must also be able to communicate efficiently with the horse and the instructor. In this way, riding is a very social activity, but is less daunting to people who are uncomfortable in social situations. However, the experience of riding a horse is very different. Riding helps to empower people and enables them to connect on a personal level. The sometimes unpredictable nature of animals and situations also creates a real-life environment in which students will be able to confront fears and make adjustments to situations beyond their control.

History:The term "Therapeutic Riding" originally was used in Germany. This was to address orthopedic dysfunction for people,such as scoliosis. The physicican would have a physiotherapist and a specially trained horse and instructor to address the strength and orthopedic dysfunction for a paitent for one year.After a year the patient was discharged. The physiotherapist worked with the physician and the patient to attain the patient's goals and the instructor was responsible for the horse. Therapuetic Riding in Germany did not teach riding skills at that time. It addressed the orthopedic dysfunction and the physican would write the order for the patient and the physiotherapist to address. After one year the patient would be discharged. The medical use of the horse which addressed people with neuromotor dysfunction was called Hippotherapy in Germany. Hippotherapy had two physiotherapists, a specially trained horse and horse handler. The theories of physiotherapy practice where applied and the physiotherapist would give directives to the horse handler as to the gait, tempo, cadence,and direction for the horse to perform which would affect the patient throughout the therapy treatment. The movement of the horse is carefully modulated to influence neuromuscular changes in the patient. In the late 1980s a group of physical, occupational therapists and speech and language pathologists from Canada and the USA went to Germany to learn about hippotherapy. They brought it back to Canada and the USA.In the USA: Equine Assisited Therapy is the umbrella term which lists Hippotherapy and Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. Licensed physical, occupational therapists, physical and occupational therapy assistants and speech and language pathologists incorporate the horse's movement( hippotherapy) into their total plan of care for their patients. Therapists in the Mental Health Industry, Social Workers, Psychologists and Mental Health providers may incorporate Equine Assisted Psychotherapy into their treatment sessions. This is different from hippotherapy where the movment of the horse influences or facilitates an adaptive response in the patient. Forms of Equine Assited Psychotherapy may have the patient on the horse or off the horse and the treatment is not focused on a set of specific movements of the horse to produce an adaptive response in the patient.

In Europe and Asia:The term therapuetic riding is the umbrella and due to different medical and educational protocals. In Europe most physiotherapists can not treat patients without an MD's orders and the national medical insurance is structured different then In the USA.

In the USA:The North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA) accredits centers providing a variety of beneficial services to people with disabilities. [cite web|url=http://www.narha.org/|title=North American Riding for the Handicapped Association official webpage|quote=Appreciating the power of the horse to change lives] NARHA catagorizes these services into two general categories, "Equine Assisted Activity" and "Equine Assisted Therapy". Equine Assisted Activities are those'services provided by a trained professional focusing on recreational, leisure, sport or education. Examples of Equine Assisted Activities are: horse back riding, carriage driving, vaulting and equine facilitated learning. These activities are guided by an educational or learning model. Skills are taught to riders, vaulters and students. The professional guiding the experience is a specially trained NARHA certified instructor. The professionals’ expertise provides them with training in specialized, adaptive teaching methods that allow people with a variety of disabilities to learn horsemanship skills and experience the equine environment.

The American Hippotherapy Association, Inc, (AHA) offers education to therapists and promotes research in Equine Assisted Therapy. The Faculty of the AHA, Inc., conduct Continuing Education Courses to teach PT's/PTA's/OT's/COTA's and SLP's nationally and internationally. Equine Assisted Therapy services are provided by licensed medical professionals. In order to provide Equine Assisted Therapy the professional providing the treatment does so within the scope of practice within their professional licensure and must have additional training in the Equine Assisted Therapy field. Examples of Equine Assisted Therapy include: Hippotherapy and Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. These therapists provide treatment by the medical model. Treatment is provided to patients based on the professionals area of expertise and utilizes the horses’ movement or equine environment to meet the patients’ goals.

References

Footnotes

* Dirienzo LN, Dirienzo LT, Baceski DA. (2007). Heart Rate Response to Therapeutic Riding in Children with CP: An exploration study. Pediatric Phys Therapy, 19:160-165.

External links

*
* [http://www.frdi.net/ Federation of Riding for the Disabled International]
* [http://www.americanhippotherapyassociation.org/ American Hippotherapy Association (AHA)]
* [http://www.narha.org/ North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA)]


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