Horse Therapy For People of All Ages With Special Needs

Interacting With Animals Makes Positive Changes In the Lives of Handicapped People

Animal therapy for a variety of mental, physical, and behavioral disorders has been utilized for quite a while – since sometime in the 1800s. Back then animals often mainly sat beside someone who was sick or recovering from an accident, but now animals are more interactive.

Cognitive, emotional, and physical functioning can be improved through working with animals. Elche’s Río Safari, an animal park and a major tourist stop in Spain, also has an animal therapy program that includes swimming with sea lions. “Dogs, horses, donkeys, sea-lions and dolphins can all help people with physical or mental illnesses,” says Jesús López from the animal therapy society Lealcan, in Spain.

There are some critics of animal assisted therapy programs. There have been complaints that the research data is not the best quality, while other critics say animal therapy works best for short-term, temporary improvement, but does not seem to have long-term, lasting results.

Best Friends in Therapy

A client and Big (the horse) share a moment of closeness at Riding Unlimited.
A client and Big (the horse) share a moment of closeness at Riding Unlimited. | Source

Getting Ready to Go to Work

My daughter cleaning Henry's hooves, getting him ready to work at Riding Unlimited where she was a side-walker.
My daughter cleaning Henry's hooves, getting him ready to work at Riding Unlimited where she was a side-walker. | Source

Advantages of Equine Therapy

Animal therapy is of course in use in many of the industrialized countries, not least of all, our own, the USA. One organization that offers therapy through riding a horse and/or driving horse drawn carriages (for people who cannot ride) right here in Texas, is Riding Unlimited. RU is a not for profit organization that serves handicapped individuals ranging in age from 2 years to senior citizens, through their riding programs.

Activities that involve horses have been shown to improve muscle tone, posture, coordination, balance, motor development, and emotional well being for people with various disabilities. Driving a horse also improves to an even greater degree, eye hand coordination and the ability of a person to judge their own location in relation to other objects around them.

By engaging in activities that include either riding a horse or driving a horse drawn carriage, participants learn cooperation, language development, concentration, and at the same time develop self-esteem, and confidence.

Learning to Handle a Horse and Cart

Headers (trained horse handlers) and spotters must attend additional training. It is necessary to have operating knowledge of all securing mechanisms and be familiar with loading and unloading procedures.  Photo taken at Riding Unlimited.
Headers (trained horse handlers) and spotters must attend additional training. It is necessary to have operating knowledge of all securing mechanisms and be familiar with loading and unloading procedures. Photo taken at Riding Unlimited. | Source

Riding Unlimited in Ponder, Texas

A marker9168 T N Skiles Rd, Ponder, TX 76259 -
9168 T N Skiles Road, Ponder, TX 76259, USA
[get directions]

Special Olympics Equestrian Competition and Other Events

Exercises include relay races, ring toss, and obstacle courses. Participants in the program can take part in the yearly Special Olympics Equestrian Competition, exhibition riding, drill team, and carriage driving competitions, among other special events.

Both adults and children with autism, visual or hearing impairment, ADD, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, brain injury, Down’s syndrome, and many other disabilities, can take advantage of this kind of therapy. For people who have severe physical handicaps, knowing freedom from their wheelchairs and walkers for a little while, can be an exhilarating experience.

Jesús López says that people who do their physiotherapy exercises on horseback often make a faster recovery. That is likely in part because of their improved outlook from being involved with an animal that enjoys human contact and has an affectionate nature.

Animal therapy can lift one’s spirits and brighten one’s day, which can in turn make such a difference to people who may otherwise feel they have no hope. That is true not only for people with serious physical and mental disabilities, but also for people who may be suffering from depression.

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Comments 123 comments

Au fait profile image

Au fait 18 months ago from North Texas Author

Patricia (pstraubie48), glad you could stop by and share your thoughts. Thank you for the angels. God bless you and yours also.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 18 months ago from sunny Florida

Horse therapy is such a wondrous way to provide pleasure for those who may really need to establish a bond with such amazing creatures.

Angels are on the Au Fait.

Hoping that all is well with you and your family. ps


Au fait profile image

Au fait 18 months ago from North Texas Author

Patricia (Pstraubie48), thank you for bringing light to this article and for sharing your knowledge on this subject!


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 18 months ago from sunny Florida

Just stopping by Au Fait to wish you well. I read this a while back but still feel as I did the first time. I know folks who have received benefit of such programs as we have many horse farms in our area and many wonderful individuals who are willing to help others.

Angels are on the way to you this evening ps


Au fait profile image

Au fait 18 months ago from North Texas Author

Peggy W, thank you for coming by and bringing attention to this article! The rain is over for several days but I think it was preferable to the awful heat that will replace it. Of course I haven't suffered from the flooding and people who have are no doubt glad to have the heat instead of the rain.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 18 months ago from Houston, Texas

I just love bringing attention to this hub because horse therapy helps so many people. Glad to hear that you are surviving all of the rain and floods in your part of the state. Our county of Harris as well as a few other counties in the state have been declared official disaster areas by President Obama. Will help some of the people who have been devastated get less expensive loans to help with the repairs and rebuilding after the floods.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 18 months ago from North Texas Author

Susie (Colorfulone), thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts on this article and the subject matter. I hope whenever you feel a need for a little lift that you will come back and read it again! :)


colorfulone profile image

colorfulone 18 months ago from Minnesota

I have been a horse lover ever since I first saw pictures of these remarkable animals. I think it is wonderful to have such large creatures for animal therapy for people. They can be as gentle as a lamb. It is great therapy for me any time that I get to spend time around horses. As a matter of fact, reading your article has been good therapy for me as I recalled memories.

Awesome! - Well done!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 19 months ago from North Texas Author

Besarien, you make some very good points. Very wise to realize that a life is made up of moments. I think people who fail to value the successes and write them off because of a few failures are missing the point.

If we wrote everything off because it failed to resolve every issue and failed to make everything ideal we wouldn't have a fire dept. or a police dept., and imagine if we lived in that situation everyday! No more doctors and nurses either because they aren't able to make every patient perfectly healthy.

Especially for the people involved in the activities discussed here, every moment of joy and happiness and self confidence means a great deal.


Besarien profile image

Besarien 19 months ago

Fie on the critics I say! They are missing the forest for all the trees. What does it matter if only short-term improvements are made by animal interaction? A life is made of little moments. Improving a life if only for a day matters. A day here and there can make all the difference as to a person's overall quality of life. Isn't this the whole theory of vacations, celebrations, visits with a far away friend, the occasional day off? Great hub! Voted up!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 19 months ago from North Texas Author

Gaddie, thank you for reading and commenting! So glad you enjoyed!


gaddie profile image

gaddie 19 months ago from Great Missenden

A really informative hub. Believe it or not my Dad is qualified as a horse healer and regularly testifies as to when he is healing horses, he himself also gets an energetic boost as well, as if they are also helping him.

I have also heard how dogs are used in hospitals to help cheer up (and subsequently help with the healing process) patients.

Great hub, thanks for sharing.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 20 months ago from North Texas Author

Peggy W, thank you for sharing your experience with the horse whisperer, and for sharing this article! Happy Easter!!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 20 months ago from Houston, Texas

Hi Au fait,

Interestingly enough, I met a horse whisperer last Saturday at a birthday party for one of our friends. It was interesting to say the least. All of the horses used in animal therapy are obviously well attuned to their human riders riding atop them. It truly is a mingling of their spirits! Sharing this hub once again.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 20 months ago from North Texas Author

DeborahDian, thank you for sharing your daughter's experience and subsequent decision to work with special needs children. Teaching, as I'm sure you can testify to, is a very satisfying work no matter who is the student.


DeborahDian profile image

DeborahDian 20 months ago from Orange County, California

Horse therapy can be life changing. Two of our daughters volunteered at a horse therapy place when they were in high school. Years later, one of our daughters became a Special Education teacher ... and she credits the horse therapy experience as the reason she decided on that career.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 21 months ago from North Texas Author

Ezzly, thank you for reading and taking time to comment on this article! Horses can be very comforting as can other pets and sometimes they communicate better than people.


ezzly profile image

ezzly 21 months ago

What a wonderful hub , I always knew there was a reason I love horses - they are magic!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 22 months ago from North Texas Author

Wheelinallover, thank you for checking this article out. Yes, this gives comfort to many people who might otherwise feel very alone and helps them develop skills that help them feel good about themselves too.


wheelinallover profile image

wheelinallover 22 months ago from Central United States

Thanks one of my favorite posts this year has been about peace on earth. There are several people from other companies who have started sharing this also. Working with putting disabled people who choose to be on horseback is a good way to help with this.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 22 months ago from North Texas Author

Kiss and Tales, thank you for reading and commenting on this article! I'm so glad you enjoyed.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 22 months ago from North Texas Author

Peggy W, thank you for commenting and sharing this article!


Kiss andTales profile image

Kiss andTales 22 months ago

Oh How precious this picture is ! Look at the horses eyes! I would like my grands to have this experience , thank you for your hub and pictures.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 22 months ago from Houston, Texas

I am going to pin this to another board that I have labeled Do you know this? There may be many people who do not realize the significant role therapy animals can do for people. Will share once again happily.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 22 months ago from North Texas Author

Shyron, thank you for taking time from what I know is a very busy schedule to read, comment, vote, pin, and share this article. Please keep your feet up for a couple of days until all the stiffness and aches go away. Take care . .


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 22 months ago

I had to come back and share this again.

voted up useful, awesome, beautiful, interesting, shared and pinned on my community board 'Amazing Hubs.'

also had to re-read this wonderful hub.

I hope all is well with you.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 22 months ago from North Texas Author

Patsybell, thank you for coming by and sharing your knowledge of this therapy and for the vote, pin, and share! This therapy can indeed make a world of difference to people.


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 23 months ago from zone 6a, SEMO

I've seen this work. Great hub. So many people don't know what a miracle this is. Up sharing, pin.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 23 months ago from North Texas Author

Wheelinallover, thank you for reading this article and especially for sharing your experience and thoughts on this issue. I'm so glad that you decided to ride again and that you saw so much improvement as a result. I hope this coming New Year will see even more improvement and that happiness, good health, and peace will be main themes throughout the year for you and those you love!


wheelinallover profile image

wheelinallover 23 months ago from Central United States

As a "normal" child I worked with horses and rode. When I became wheelchair bound (total paralysis from the waist down) it took years before I was able to even consider riding again.

What I found was the decision to ride was one of the smartest moves I made. It wasn't until I started riding that feeling started coming back to my legs. The legs will never be what they were, I can stand to transfer now and walk a few steps with a cane. Riding also gave me a feeling of freedom that I hadn't felt since the legs stopped working.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 23 months ago from North Texas Author

Delia-delia, thank you for reading this article and sharing your thoughts on this important subject.

The horses aren't mine. They belong to Riding Unlimited, which is featured in the videos. They are a nonprofit organization that helps handicapped people of all ages with horse therapy. My daughter volunteered there for a couple of years.


delia-delia profile image

delia-delia 23 months ago

Love this page! I thoroughly believe animals have a healing power of body and mind...it's amazing the transformation you can witness. God has given us a gift to use animals that are adaptable to help...I'm in particular amazed at animals that can find a problem with a human health issue.

Thank you for touching lives through you and your horses. We use to use our pony to visit children in school.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 24 months ago from sunny Florida

This is such a wonderful to touch the lives of those who have been challenged in some way. And who cares if the effects are not 'long lasting'. Who would really know that anyway, for sure

Right here in Marion County we have several places dedicated to providing such opportunities. It is often a life changing experience for those involved.

So glad you shared this, Aufait

More Angels are winging their way to you ps


Au fait profile image

Au fait 24 months ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Larry Rankin for taking time to comment on this article, and for your high praise!


Larry Rankin profile image

Larry Rankin 24 months ago from Oklahoma

The bond between animals and people is truly an amazing one.

Wonderful article


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Peggy W for commenting on and sharing this article! So glad you support these endeavors to help the less fortunate, and I appreciate the share to help publicize them.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

That video at the end of your article is so uplifting! My hubby and I just attended a fundraiser dinner/auction last Saturday evening for a similar organization in Houston called JoyRide. Organizations like this help so many people and are truly worthwhile supporting. Sharing again.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Prasetio30, thank you for reading and commenting and voting on this article. Glad you found this article useful and that you enjoyed it!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Peggy W, thank you for Google+ing and sharing this article!


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 2 years ago from malang-indonesia

Very useful information. Actually, I had never heard about this before. Thanks for sharing. Voted up!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

Going to G+ this fine article of yours and share once again.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Mary615, thank you for taking time to comment and to vote on and share this article!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Thumbi7, thank you for coming by. Henry is a ham, glad you liked him. :)


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Denise Handlon, thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts on this article and this issue. Most of the people involved in this particular therapy are either physically or mentally handicapped, sometimes both. Animals can be a comfort for them and in some cases of mental challenge, can be that one thing that gets through and brings them happiness.


mary615 profile image

mary615 2 years ago from Florida

Each of our four girls had their own Quarter horse, and I know how kids (and grown ups) can "connect" to a horse. I'm sure animal therapy is a wonderful concept for handicapped people of all ages to help them.

Voted UP and shared.


thumbi7 profile image

thumbi7 2 years ago from India

heard about horse therapy before. Interesting read. By the way Henry looks charming.. Thanks for sharing.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 2 years ago from North Carolina

This is such a sweet topic for me. I love horses and I am a firm believer of any type of therapy that assists someone to work through their fears or anxieties. We offer pet therapy at our hospital and it is always a dog that is brought in. The concept of horses being used as therapy buddies is a wonderful idea. They are big, but gentle souls and the relationship between man and horse has always been an enchanting one. UP/U/A/B/I and sharing. Am pinning this.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Grand old lady, thank you for reading and commenting on this article! In fact it is critics of this type of therapy who say it is temporary and short term. That is controversial. In any case, I have only reported that controversy, it is not my finding. Most of my articles are essentially research papers and I try to report all aspects of an issue, but that doesn't mean I agree or disagree with any of them.

Very much appreciate your taking time to read and share your thoughts!


grand old lady profile image

grand old lady 2 years ago from Philippines

Horse therapy sounds like a wonderful way to deal with a range of ailments and disabilities that beset people. As you say, the cure is temporary, but I believe it is a bridge to larger things. I love the options you present, whether through carriage riding or horse riding, the the use of competitions. Horses are wonderful pets and with horse therapy, people who can't afford to buy a horse can have the benefit of becoming close friends with one.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Shyron, thank you for coming by and sharing/pinning this article. Sadly some of us react to animals in a negative way. I get asthma so bad I can barely breath and I'm still reacting to being exposed to my daughter's belongings that were covered with cat hair (no actual cat present) nearly 2 months ago when I helped her move some things from a storage unit.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

mours sshields, thank you for taking time to share your experience on this subject!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Seanorjohn, thank you for coming by and commenting. I'm so honored that you are using my article to help others. I work with children with behavioral issues sometimes too. I hope this article will be beneficial.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Peggy W, thank you for sharing this hub! At the moment it isn't idled, but it's always on the edge . .


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Jenn-Anne, thank you for taking the time to come by and comment!


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago

Au fait, eaveryone benefits from animal companionship. I have see the effect an animal can have on people. Even babies react to animals

My Dad had about three or four cats. They were kept outside so it was hard to count them. When he expired my brothers, son and nephew tried to herd them to take them to the Humane Society.

Thumbs up across the board, pinned to Amazing HubPages board, and shared.


seanorjohn profile image

seanorjohn 2 years ago

Great hub. I work with young people with behaviou r difficulties and will use your hub as a comprehension exercise and class discussion. Voted up.


mours sshields 2 years ago from Elwood, Indiana

My autistic son had horse therapy for a long time. Great subject and article!

Marcia Ours


Jenn-Anne profile image

Jenn-Anne 2 years ago

Nice hub! Anyone who has seen animals and special needs kids together knows the benefit of animal therapy.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

I hope that this hub of yours is no longer idled! I am going to share it once again because it is certainly worthy of more exposure and also will Google+ the post.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

PegCole17, thank you for reading this article and sharing your aunt's and your mom's delight at their furry visitors. So glad you enjoyed the article and the film.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Tillsontitan, so glad to see you! Hope you are and have been well. Thank you for commenting and voting on, complimenting, and sharing this hub!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you moonlake for stopping back and for sharing this hub! I hope you had a chance to enjoy your families horses sometimes even if you had already married and left home.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

What a beautiful thing to see the effect this type of therapy has on everyone involved with it. I loved reading this article today and just wanted to thank you for the smile (and a sniffle) from that incredible video tape.

This was National Nursing Home week and volunteers brought in some therapy dogs to the place where Mom and Auntie are living. You should have seen the look of delight on their faces as they petted the dogs.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York

What better way to help yourself and others, than through animal therapy. Animals are patient and love unconditionally. Anyone who has ever owned a dog can certainly attest to that!

Well done my friend.

Voted up, useful, interesting, and shared.


moonlake profile image

moonlake 2 years ago from America

I came back for a visit to this nice hub and wanted to share it. My family always had horses and a riding stable but they got them after I married and moved away. I know how they loved those horses.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Shyron for bringing attention to this article. It is indeed a joy to see the happiness on this video. Blessing to you and yours also. Hope your Mother's Day was perfect in every way.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago

I am back to give this a shout out again, everyone should read this it is such a wonderful feeling to see the joy on the faces in the video.

Voted up across the board (except funny)

Blessing my dear friend Au fait †


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you, Author Cheryl, for stopping by and sharing your experience!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for sharing your thoughts Shyron. I do believe that most animals have more integrity than many humans. Thanks for the votes and share too.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Peggy W, thank you for pinning this article and for creating a board especially for it and similar articles!


Author Cheryl profile image

Author Cheryl 2 years ago

When I worked on a rehab floor we had a miniature pony that would come visit the patients. He was adorable. Animals are the cure for sick people


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago

I have to share this will all our readers, animals play such an important role in our lives and teach us about love and moral things. Most animals love unconditionally.

I love that you wrote this.

Voted up, UABI and shared.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for stopping by Deborah-Diane! This therapy can indeed work miracles with lots of different people in different conditions.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

I created a new board for it called Horses. ☺


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

Pinning this again to another board so it is hopefully read by more people. Good job on writing this!


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 2 years ago from Orange County, California

This is such a wonderful therapy. I have seen it work miracles on an autistic child.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Shyron, for checking out this updated article, and for the votes and share! Glad you enjoyed the new photo.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago

Au fait, I love the picture of the little girl with the horse, it reminds me of me when I was a little girl on my grandfather's farm. The information in this hub is priceless.

Voted up, UABI, and shared.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Peggy W for sharing this article. It's my only 'idled hub' right now and needs some exposure.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

Thought that I would come back and share this good hub again since this is a year round topic of importance to many people. Thanks for writing it.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Deborah-Diane for sharing your experience, and your thoughts, on this important issue. Contributing to animal therapy organizations, especially the ones that help the less well off who need help but can't afford it, is a wonderful idea. Thank you also, for sharing!


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 3 years ago from Orange County, California

Two of our daughters volunteered for an animal therapy program when they were teens and I don't think many people realize how worthwhile these organizations are. I hope that during the holidays, when people are giving to charities or visiting nursing homes, many of them will reach out and support an animal therapy program in their area. I am definitely resharing this wonderful article.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for sharing this article Shyron! The video is so inspiring, I hope everyone takes the time to watch it.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago

Sharing this again in case some of my friends did not read this, it is so important.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Shyron for the votes, the pin, and and the share. The video does indeed touch one's heart to see it. If people haven't watched it they have missed out on some very special insight.

Thank you Shyron, for all that you do, and especially for being you.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago

Please watch the video, if it does not do your heart good, you don't have a heart.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago

I had to come back and share this again.

voted up useful, awesome, beautiful, interesting, shared and pinned on my community board 'Amazing Hubs.'


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you DDE for reading and commenting on this hub. So glad you enjoyed reading this as well as my other hubs!


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

An extraordinary hub on this such therapy a great idea and is most helpful. You have written and explained to the point, I enjoy reading your hubs


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Peggy W for tweeting this hub!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

Giving this good hub of yours a nudge by tweeting.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Cashmere, thank you for commenting on this hub and for sharing your knowledge in this area!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Natashalh, thank you for commenting!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Peggy W, for reading, commenting, voting on, and sharing/pinning etc. Animals are often just what is needed to give the love that people don't always have enough time to do.


cashmere profile image

cashmere 3 years ago from India

Very interesting. I always feel having a pet made a huge difference to my grandfather when he was practically bedridden. I think the love they shared was very special.


Natashalh profile image

Natashalh 3 years ago from Hawaii

My home town has a program like this. It is so cool! It's amazing how beneficial animal therapy programs really are.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

We know of several equine therapy programs in the Houston area that DEFINITELY help people overcome some of their disabilities. This is good information. In the recent tornado damage in Moore, Oklahoma...therapy dogs were taken there to give some love and comfort to the people. Therapy dogs also go to hospitals and nursing homes. Wonderful subject. All kinds of votes up, pinning and sharing.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Vespawoolf, thank you for stopping by and sharing your experience on this subject!


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

I definitely believe in the benefits of animal therapy. There's a facility for the elderly near my family's home and there's an organization that regularly takes labradors to visit the residents. They so look forward to each week's session, and I believe the dogs enjoy themselves just as much! Thank you for sharing.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Nicole S, thank you for stopping by and commenting!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Deborah-Diane for commenting on this hub! The organization spotlighted in this hub is in Justin, not that far from Dallas either, but there are other organizations that do similar work too. Glad your daughters got involved and I'm sure it was satisfying for them too.


Nicole S profile image

Nicole S 3 years ago from Minnesota

My sister used to work for a place that specialized in animal therapy. Very interesting stuff!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you tebo for commenting on this hub and sharing your own experience. Here at Riding Unlimited special needs people learn to ride a horse by themselves and control the horse. Some of them also learn how to control a horse pulling a cart. The video showed the special competitions some of the people participate in. Competing gives their self esteem a huge lift because they have achieved something on their own.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you rajan jolly, for reading, commenting, voting on, and especially for sharing this hub. In addition to some companionship, special needs people learn how to control the horse (not so easy as you might think) and actually compete against each other in competitions. This gives them confidence and a sense of achievement. For some its the greatest joy in their lives.


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 3 years ago from Orange County, California

Wonderful Hub! Two of our daughters volunteered at an Equine Therapy organization near Dallas when they were teens. They loved working with autistic and handicapped children, to enable them to have the love of horses that our daughters enjoyed.

I'm glad you brought these worthwhile organizations to the attention of other people.


tebo profile image

tebo 3 years ago from New Zealand

I totally agree with this hub. Animals give us so much pleasure. I have worked with special needs children and taken them horse riding and they do love it. Animals are such an important part of our existence.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Very interesting read, Au fait. We have a dog and I can vouch that we feel relaxed as soon as we are with him. They are so unpredictably wonderful.

Voted up and shared.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you moonlake, for stopping by and leaving a comment and voting! I love horses too. They can be such big babies!


moonlake profile image

moonlake 3 years ago from America

I think horses are great for therapy. You can't help but love them with their big dark eyes. Voted up.


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Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for stopping by Shyron, and letting us know another way animals can be helpful.


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Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago

A cousin just told me about my Great Grandma having a pet that helped with her asthma.

Voting up and sharing.


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Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Sweetie1 for reading, commenting, and voting on this hub! There are a variety of animals that assist in therapy, even some exotic animals like monkeys. Sometimes the most important thing animals contribute to the well being of people is their presence -- just being there, providing companionship and love.


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sweetie1 3 years ago from India

Very nicely written hub. I knew dogs helping lots of people with physical problems like blind people but I never thought Horses are used for them too. Voting it up.


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Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for reading and commenting on this hub, Pamela Kinnaird W! Also, for voting and sharing. You might enjoy the video included in my hub on "What If You Had Never Tasted Chocolate?" It's about a deaf girl who trains a horse and uses Native American methods that do nor require spoken directives.


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Pamela Kinnaird W 3 years ago from Maui and Arizona

Animal therapy is new terminology perhaps which has come into being during the last twenty years, but as you have pointed out it's been a true principle in helping many people for a long, long time.

I didn't know that activities involving horses could improve muscle tone or posture. But the other areas of improvement horse riding can bring about -- I sort of knew.

Voting up and useful. Sharing.


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Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for reading and commenting on my hub, Shyron. I hope this hub will be informative for people who wonder how animal therapy might work for someone they care about.


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Shyron E Shenko 4 years ago

Awesome hub, I can understand that, I always felt better when the animals were around. When I was a kid, we hat 13 dogs, some for hunting and some just pets.


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Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Brett, for taking time to read and comment and for sharing. Yes, animals are so helpful to people with all kinds of issues even if only to help curb loneliness.


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Brett.Tesol 4 years ago from Somewhere in Asia

Their is definitely a connection between animals and people, at least for most normal people. Hence, I can see why this would be very beneficial. It also (in some cases) gives them a feeling of being needed and responsibility,

Sharing, up and interesting.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Angela, for reading and commenting on my hub, and for contributing your experience. Yes, animals can provide companionship and therefore ease loneliness and they provide unconditional love.


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Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Raymond for reading and commenting on my hub! Very much appreciate your taking the time. Animal therapy does far more than just lift the spirits, but if that were the only thing it did, it would be well worth it to many people, as I'm sure with your training I do not have to tell you. Thanks again for stopping by!


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Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas

My mom, having suffered a monstrous stroke was left speechless and with her right side paralyzed. After therapy she could say a few words including "puppy." I got her a cocker spaniel and named him "Jake." Mother enjoyed him immensely and he was definitely part of any progress she made as she wanted to verbally communicate with him -- and would try. She'd also throw a ball with her good arm, he'd bring it back and she'd throw it again. Jake was a tremendous help and companion to Mom. He grieved sorely when she passed away. I believe he was singularly responsible for the little progress she made over the years and was truly instrumental in her living a better, more joyous life despite her handicaps. Animals, in my mind, are true angels to the handicapped and infirm that enjoy them. Excellent Hub. Best/Sis


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raymondphilippe 4 years ago from The Netherlands

"Animal therapy can lift one’s spirits and brighten one’s day".

What more can a person hope for!

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