Benefits of Therapeutic Riding
Therapeutic horseback riding has been extremely beneficial for my son, Quinn. It has helped is muscle tone, given him confidence and coordination and settled his nerves. He also likes the interaction with the aides when he is riding —especially the ladies.
Quinn has been riding since he was 18 months old. His goals and needs have changed over the years, but he started because of is moderate to severe hypotonia. Quinn could not sit up without the help of an assistive chair called a Bumbo Seat. His core muscles were too loose. Because of the numerous things he couldn’t do due to the hypotonia, like crawl for more than for “steps”, he wasn’t getting any better. After two weeks on the horse with a side walker, he was sitting up on his own. Strengthening his core muscles enabled him to get started on his much delayed physical development and start walking, running (VERY fast) and playing.
In addition to Quinn’s hypotonia, he was diagnosed at three with autism. This changed the nature of the therapeutic riding program, but not its effectiveness. By doing various exercises on the horse Quinn learned to interact with others better. Instead of grunting and pointing, he started asking for what he wanted and responding to questions. The motion of the horse is also very helpful to Quinn’s nerves. The feedback from the trotting and the gate of the horse help greatly with his sensory needs and calm him down. And of course there are the ladies*. Quinn is twelve now, but even at five he was all about impressing the ladies. Whatever it takes to get him to interact.
Therapeutic riding has been a real boon to Quinn and of all the therapies he has done, it is the only one that has grown with him and he has continued — and wanted to continue— since he was 18 months old.