The Benefits of Horseback Riding and Autism
Do you have a child with autism? Or do you know someone who does? Horseback riding therapy is an excellent way to help improve the quality of life for those living with autism. Autism is a condition that affects 1 in 68 children, and horseback riding is one of the best therapies for this disability. In addition, there are many benefits that horseback riding offers, such as improved balance, coordination, and self-confidence. In this blog post, we will explore these benefits in more detail!
What is Autism: Autism is a condition that affects one in 68 children. It ranges from mild to severe, and it can cause people to struggle with social interactions or have significant difficulties in communicating.
Horseback Riding Therapy: One of the best therapies for those living with autism is horseback riding therapy! This therapy involves having patients on horseback while another person guides them by walking alongside them (a “lead walker”). The lead walker will help teach proper balance and posture, which are critical aspects of this treatment option. Additionally, these sessions provide an opportunity for individuals who may be struggling socially to connect better without feeling too much pressure due to their disability.
Benefits: There are many benefits associated with horseback riding as a form of therapy, including improved balance and posture, increased self-confidence in social interactions or when communicating, lowered anxiety levels (during therapy sessions), improved coordination of movement, which may lead to benefits such as decreased seizures.
Risks: There are minimal risks associated with horseback riding – some patients have reported minor bruising from falls during treatments, but this is rare.
Why horseback riding therapy works for autism:
Horseback riding works for children with autism because it allows them to work on their balance, posture, and coordination without feeling too much pressure due to their disability. In addition, for some children with autism, horseback riding is a form of therapy that allows them a sense of freedom and well-being that they might not be able to experience without horse therapy.
How to get started with horseback riding therapy:
When looking for horseback riding therapy, there are several things to consider. First, the parent or caregiver should look at whether horseback riding is an appropriate mode of movement for their child and what type would be best.
Then they must determine which facility they want to use and research reviews from other parents who have been through the process before deciding on one that will provide them with peace of mind when it comes to caring for their children’s needs.
If you’re interested in getting your child started with horseback riding therapy, try doing some Google searches in your local area to find a stable that provides this type of service. There are many of them out there; it’s essential to find one that fits the needs of your child and your family.
Horseback riding equipment and safety considerations:
The stable that you choose to do therapy with will have everything needed for your child to start therapy. This includes the saddle for the horse as well as a riding helmet for your child. Horse therapy is a relatively safe activity as these animals are trained well to be obedient and docile. Most of these horses will not perform anything more than a slow walk with a child rider.
Sensory Integration:One of the main benefits that people see from this type of therapy is increasing their sensory input. This often helps them be more in tune with what’s going on around them, improving many speech patterns and even self-regulation skills. All these are essential parts of life for someone who has been diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder).
Social Interaction: Another benefit that may come out of learning horseback riding could be increased social interaction skills. Even though the horse may not be a living being, there is still interaction between rider and animal. The more people can interact in this way, the better their social skills will become as they get older.
Many different studies have been done on how horseback riding can help with autism spectrum disorder symptoms, and most of them seem to point towards improvement in various areas such as cognitive functioning (thinking) and motor skills. In addition, this type of therapy has also proven helpful for children who have ADHD or ADD by helping them focus both mentally and physically while working through their condition together with an attentive trainer.
Important things to remember when doing horseback-riding therapy on an autistic person:
- The horse should be accepted by the autistic person before they can move on in therapy
- Horses are unpredictable and require patience from both rider and horse. They will not always go where you want them to, but once a trust connection is established, this becomes less of an issue as the animal does what it needs to do for its owner
- Horses have their personalities (they also need time to accept new people), so don’t expect instant results if your patient has never been around animals before
- Make sure that you find qualified professionals who specialize in working with autism spectrum disorder children or adolescents when considering horseback riding as a treatment option. As mentioned earlier, there’s more than one type of autism which means that different treatments may benefit each individual.
- Horseback riding therapy utilizes natural, gentle movements that are not only soothing but can be used to teach people with autism about horsemanship and caretaking
- There are many benefits of horseback riding, including increased confidence, improved motor skills, higher self-esteem, and better interpersonal relationships
- For children or adolescents who have been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, in particular, it has been found that the physical contact from being near horses is comforting and calming as well as therapeutic. This may also apply to those on the high functioning end of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) because they tend to crave a lot of sensory input, which could stimulate them in a way that is needed by using horse therapy.
There are many benefits of horseback riding therapy for autism. Some of the main benefits, as pointed out above, include increased self-awareness, increased socialization with animals and humans. Lastly, this therapy can help with fine motor skills that can be developed and help out the autistic child for the rest of their life. Thus, horseback riding therapy may be the perfect additional therapy that a child with autism is looking for!