The Benefits Of Therapeutic Riding

Therapies and Resources for Children with Autism & Families

Equine therapy, or therapeutic riding, is a popular therapy option for children with autism because of its wide range of benefits. What is the intent of therapeutic riding? Children improve posture and balance by sitting on a horse and adjusting to its unique movements and shape. As a child rides the horse and participates in a number of activities, he or she will work on skills like hand and eye coordination, spatial relations, and following directions.

Have you debated whether your child would benefit from therapeutic riding? Here’s a few reasons why the therapy can be so effective for children with autism:

  • Riding a horse is calming. The experience of riding a horse involves a rhythmic motion that is slow and has a deliberate pace. For an autistic child, this motion can be relaxing and calming, putting them at ease and reducing stress.
  • There’s an opportunity for an emotional bond. While verbal communication may be difficult for your child, the bond a child makes with a horse is emotional rather than nonverbal. A child learns to communicate with the horse through showing it care, whether it be through petting or hugs, or brushing their hair. This can be a wonderful experience for your child.
  • Therapeutic riding engages your child’s sensory perceptions. From the soft touch of a horse’s skin or nose, or the feel of its mane, riding and engaging with horses provides a number of different tactile sensory experiences.
  • Equine therapy advances cognitive and language skills development. As a child learns to care for and ride a horse, he practices following and comprehending directions from the instructor, as well as engaging with peers.
  • Therapeutic riding is fun! Many children experience a sense of joy and personal satisfaction from riding and engaging with a horse, as well as interacting with the counselors and peers with them during therapy.

If you would like to learn more about equine therapy and whether it would be beneficial for your child, contact the team at Peak Potential Therapy. To learn more about equine assisted activities in the Greater Cleveland area, check out the Therapeutic Riding Program offered at Rocky River Stables.