About Therapeutic Riding and Horsemanship
Therapeutic riding, a widely practiced form of equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAAT), offers the opportunity for the rider to view and experience the world in a unique manner—from astride a powerful horse. The freedom and movement gained by mounted horse activities may elevate the rider’s perspective in a profound way. The rider may see broadened possibilities for independence, improved ability to communicate directions and feelings, and enhanced self-esteem resulting from accomplishing challenging but attainable goals.
While on the horse, riding at a rhythmic walk offers repetitive motion similar to that which occurs when one walks. This allows the rider the ability to receive input to muscles and nerves in a manner difficult to find in other settings. Muscles engage in ways not required with usual routines. As a result of therapeutic horseback riding, strength, balance, and coordination may improve.
For those participants in our program needing to gain more confidence around a horse prior to mounted activities, or for those who simply desire the benefits derived by simply spending time in the company of a horse while grooming and learning safe handling from the ground, un-mounted activities are a fulfilling option. The potential to form a meaningful bond with the horse offers the possibility of a rich relationship filled with trust and joy; this is sometimes difficult to find elsewhere.
Each eight week session in our therapeutic riding and horsemanship program is designed to enhance the physical, cognitive and emotional well-being of each individual participant. Whether astride or beside a horse, participants in our program enjoy the support of thoughtful, professional, and caring guidance and support in a calm, safe, and healing space. We invite you to begin exploring the world in the company of a horse! Learn about our programs.
LOARC provides these equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAAT):
- Grooming & tacking
- Ground work
- Therapeutic riding
The following challenges may benefit from EAAT and are served at LOARC:
- ADD or other Hyperactivity Disorder
- Cerebral Palsy
- Developmental Delay or Disability
- Down Syndrome
- Genetic Conditions/Disorders
- Head Trauma/Brain Injury
- Hearing Impairment
- Learning Disability
Effects of Therapeutic Horseback Riding on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Military Veterans
Large numbers of post-deployment U.S. veterans are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or traumatic brain injury (TBI), leading to an urgent need for effective interventions to reduce symptoms and increase veterans’ coping. PTSD includes anxiety, flashbacks, and emotional numbing. The symptoms increase health care costs for stress-related illnesses and can make veterans’ civilian life difficult.
We used a randomized wait-list controlled design with repeated measures of U.S. military veterans to address our specific aim to test the efficacy of a 6-week therapeutic horseback riding (THR) program for decreasing PTSD symptoms and increasing coping self-efficacy, emotion regulation, social and emotional loneliness.
Fifty-seven participants were recruited and 29 enrolled in the randomized trial. They were randomly assigned to either the horse riding group (n = 15) or a wait-list control group (n = 14). The wait-list control group experienced a 6-week waiting period, while the horse riding group began THR. The wait-list control group began riding after 6 weeks of participating in the control group.
Read more here