Benefits of Therapeutic Riding

Equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAAT) are used to enhance physical, psychological, emotional, and social development for its participants. Physically, EAAT improves mobility, flexibility, strength, balance, stamina, and coordination. Riding stimulates the digestive system, cardiovascular system, and the respiratory system. EAAT is helpful to people with learning disabilities and a wide range of mental illnesses. Psychologically, EAAT increases self-esteem and self-confidence. Besides these benefits, interacting with horses is simply enjoyable for our participants, while offering a positive experience for family members, caregivers and volunteers who witness and share each participant's achievements. Riding is fun!

Why Equine-Assisted Activities Work

Consider the observations of Pennsylvania physician Dr. Louis Wagner:

"A horse’s walking action mimics your body action. So when you put somebody on a horse, the horse moves and the rider’s muscles move in synchronization with it. Unlike exercise machines, a horse makes your whole body respond in a smoothly rhythmic, progressive way."

This is why many physical therapists join their patients for therapeutic riding: they can do things (at the riding center) which can't be accomplished in the therapy room.

The riders benefit physically and emotionally, gain strength and flexibility, learn consequences, and feel a sense of accomplishment during the riding sessions. These benefits carry over into their daily lives.

Benefits of Equine-Assisted Activities

  • Develop recreational, educational, and therapeutic goals
  • Enhance social skills and trust levels through special effects of the human/animal bond
  • Improve sensory integration skills
  • Lengthen attention span and concentration
  • Improve posture, balance, coordination, flexibility, and normalize muscle tone
  • Increase self-confidence and self-discipline
  • Promote responsibility and cooperation
  • Build self-esteem through challenge in a success-oriented experience