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Why are Horses so Special?

Updated: Aug 8, 2022

"Whether it's a five-year-old with Down's syndrome, a 45-year-old recovering from a spinal cord injury, a senior citizen recovering from a stroke or a teenager struggling with depression, research shows that individuals of all ages who participate in EAAT can experience physical and emotional rewards." Kaye Marks of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) Intl.

It is recognized worldwide that the interaction between horses and people is a powerful union. In addition, research has shown that caring for and handling horses can significantly benefit our mental and physical health.

Horses work with many practitioners, such as Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists, Physiotherapists, Educationalists and Psychotherapists who utilize an equine-assisted activity to enhance and compliment their work.

The movement of a horse's gait closely mimics the human walk and through riding simulates the human walk making it a transformational treatment base. It provides a multi-sensory experience promoting awareness of another being. It can sometimes prove to be a profound experience for the rider.

Equine-assisted activities and therapy offer a connection with the animal and interaction in a stable environment, along with the physical act of riding. A horse's large size and remarkable ability to read body language are significant benefits unique to horses.

The act of riding a horse improves upper-body control, balance and posture not from one's efforts but because the horse naturally brings the rider into this movement. In addition, children on the Autism spectrum may find trotting and cantering a soothing sensory experience with a calming effect.

Horses also have an innate ability to be in the present moment. They pick up on aggression or fear and give immediate feedback. For example, if you become quiet and calm, the horse becomes quiet and calm. This is a beautiful learning opportunity for emotional regulation.

The opportunity to connect, ride or lead a horse is also a fun and recreational activity resulting in confidence and happiness.

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