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Is Therapeutic Riding really for everyone?

Updated on September 16, 2011
IS1820 profile image

Married and father of three children. Masters degree in Zoology. Over twenty years of experience in sales and marketing. Writes and paints.

Horses have been part of Human’s lives thousands of years. The domestication of horses began around 4000 BC, although there is evidence that they may have been kept by Humans as early as 5000 BC in Kazahstan their uses are unclear. Archeological evidence of bit wear on horse teeth date to about 3000-3500 BC indicating horse riding.

Just when horse became recognized as having therapeutic values is not entirely clear, but Orbasis of ancient Lydia documented the therapeutic value of riding in 600 B.C.

This hub is not about horse history, or their uses by men throughout human history, nor is it about their virtues in therapeutic riding.

The horse’s virtues in therapeutic riding are today well documented and known. With the increase in the awareness of therapeutic riding a lot of focus has been given by many to the use of horses in quite a wide range of equine assisted therapies. This focus is more than justifiable it is remarkable, and should be adapted by health organizations as part of their member’s treatment.

But, do we all need equine related therapies? Are for example all those children with the increasing phenomena of attention deficiency real candidates for therapeutic riding? The answer in my opinion is no.

Rather, just ride horses and be near them.

Well, just ride is not getting on a horse and letting it move. First, learn to ride at a recognized equine stable that has qualified riding instructors.

All of us, especially children can benefit greatly from being around horses. This includes of course all children (and adults) as well as those with attention deficiencies, behavioral problems, lack of self confidence or just bored. Being around horses and feeling their power and beauty install in most of us, especially in children, a sense of calm together with a feeling of power and control.

Horses demand nothing from us and are willing to give back a fortune. The virtues of riding horses are numerous.

So, when the question arises whether to allow our child to take horse riding lessons the answer is a big yes.

This big yes is for all children, but this article addresses the same question with children that may have for example attention deficiency, confidence problems or other issues that need addressing.

It is stressed that riding horses if not carried out correctly could be dangerous. Therefore, before letting a child begin riding it is imperative to ensure that the riding school is professional in all aspects of equine sports.

Horses do have magical power. This magic can be both a gift and a cure to the rider. Many people without any issues just want to ride.

So, when a child, with say for example attention deficiency problems rides a horse, the child feels its rhythm and movements. The child is attentive to the horse under him, otherwise he will fall off. They don’t fall off. Children sense and feel the horse, they listen to the instructor and do what they are told. Consequently the horse reacts and “listens” to the young rider and complies with his request. You would be surprised at how fast children, with attention deficiency, taking part in a riding lesson, pick up instructions and carry them out. Albeit this doesn’t happen with every ride in the beginning, but as the lessons progress the child’s success increases. A lot of attention deficiency children lack the ability to persevere in many tasks, it just doesn’t interest them. Horses do not shout back, do not insult and good instructors know how to keep the child’s interest in the small successes while riding alive. And so the child perseveres.

When this success happens, the smile of the young rider says it all. He or she has persevered and succeeded.

It is known that if something interests attention deficiency people their concentration increases. Horses have this power and the child’s success in making the horse under him do what he wants is rewarding in many ways.

Riding teaches the child perseverance, how to deal with frustrations of not being able in the beginning to achieve the task, of not giving up, and most kids do not give up on horses. They want to succeed. And they do.

Riding a horse, feeling it do what we ask from it, is a great boost in any child’s self confidence. The young rider is in control of this large animal, and as the riding experiences increase and the exercises executed become more complicated, the child’s confidence grows.

The above are just a few of the virtues that horses have and give just a taste what horses can do for us. And they give, without complaining. Riding and being around horses is beneficial for all, especially children. Therapeutic or equine assisted therapies are excellent, but if the person does not really need therapeutic riding, riding horses with a good instructor will be more than rewarding and could do wonders for many situations, a few of which are mentioned in this hub.

So, just ride.


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    • IS1820 profile image

      Ian Susman 6 years ago

      Thanks Linda a lot for your remarks. The one who is the equine expert is actually our son, and yes , horses have a great way of giving a peace of mind.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I've always been fascinated with the beauty of a horse but I've never been riding. I can imagine the ride being very therapeutic. Any activity that gives you peace of mind can serve as helpful to mind, body and soul. Excellent hub...keep 'em coming!

    • IS1820 profile image

      Ian Susman 6 years ago

      Sorry to hear about your brother. Horses do help in so many different situations. Thanks for the vote

    • mvillecat profile image

      Catherine Dean 6 years ago from Milledgeville, Georgia

      My brother passed away three years ago and left my niece Sara. Sara has a horse named Gracie that she rides in competitions. I am so thankful for Gracie being there for my niece during the most difficult time in her life. She is much loved and valued.I voted up!