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What is therapeutic horsemanship?
Therapeutic riding offers equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAAT) to riders with special needs. It offers a motivating combination of sensory, cognitive, and emotional stimulation that facilitates mobility, socialization, and independence. The horse's rhythmical swinging movement challenges the riders whole body to continually respond with the natural movement. Tight muscles relax, lax muscles strengthen, coordination improves, and circulation increases.
EAAT also provides: an opportunity to teach riders about teamwork, learn how to communicate in non-traditional ways, learn how to be more aware of their surroundings and what others are telling them through non-verbal cues, develop activities of daily living through horse care and responsibility, strengthen biomechanical processes, develop a sense of self-esteem, develop emotion regulation skills, as well as many additional benefits.
EAAT benefits riders with both physical and cognitive disabilities. It has helped numerous riders with PTSD, suicidal ideation, neuromuscular disorders, ambulatory dysfunction, social anxiety, amputations, and many many more conditions. The possibilities are endless with therapeutic horsemanship and can help anyone with many struggles in their life.
What is Hippotherapy?
"...the purposeful manipulation of equine movement to engage sensory, neuromotor, and cognitive systems to achieve functional outcomes" (AHA). All hippotherapy lessons are conducted by a Physical Therapist (PT), Occupational Therapist (OT), or a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) who have been additionally trained and certified to use a horse as a treatment modality in a therapeutic riding setting. For more information, click here to visit the website for the American Hippotherapy Association.
Who is PATH Intl.?
The Professional Association for Therapeutic Horsemanship Intl. (PATH) "is the credentialing organization for accrediting centers and certifying instructors and equine specialists" (PATH Intl.). Their mission "is to promote safety and optimal outcomes in equine-assisted activities and therapies for individuals with special needs" (PATH Intl.). For more information, visit their website at www.pathintl.org.