What do we know about ‘hippotherapy’ or equine therapy? What is the bond between horses and men? Are those animals truly so powerful? There’s a strong and inextricable relationship between man and animal. For thousands of years, we evolved together. Our lives, as well as our purpose very often intertwined and depend on each another in so many different aspects. For thousands of years, a man has successfully tamed many wild species. Horses are one of them. Their role meant a lot, from the main source of food, transportation, labor, sports, and the most sincere love, emotion, and companionship to people.
The truth is, the bond between man and these animals has huge emotional factors and miraculous healing powers. Horses are incredible, noble animals that send us some particular energy that has proven to affect people positively. That is why there is a very successful, so-called equine or hippotherapy that many physical, speech and work therapists use to reach some exceptional patients to their most profound levels. Significantly, patients undergoing equine therapy are often children with autism. Treatment involving horseback riding and taking care of a horse. It affects motor, emotional, and sensory reactions in children with autism.
Equine therapy creates an emotional bond
One of the most significant difficulties for children with autism is an emotional connection with others. To them, it is difficult to establish eye contact, to reveal their feelings, and to express themselves adequately about the things and the persons they care for. In equine therapy, physical communication is used instead of verbal. Therapists teach these children to brush, hug, and cuddle horses. Learning to take care of the horse, link the attention they provide with feelings, and build an emotional bridge. The relationship between a horse and an autistic child improves his social and communication skills.
Equine therapy develops better cognitive and speech skills
Understanding standard directions for autistic children is often a significant barrier. The equine therapy will introduce some guidelines to the child’s life invisibly, through the game, and enable it to accept the instruction and memorize it quickly. For example, there is an exercise where the task is to insert colored balls into the baskets while riding a horse. This is actually a game in which children are unwittingly following the directive.
More, the therapists teach how to give directions to the horse, and they will develop even better communication in that matter. During therapy, cognitive concepts will improve.
Horseback riding for better balance and orientation
The fundamental goal of any parent of children with autism is to train them to be able to perform the essential functions of their own. In a physical sense, balance and orientation are necessary for that. They are encountered through the vestibular sensory organs located inside the inner ear and stimulated by a change in direction, inclination, and velocity. Riding a horse stimulates these receptors in the inner ear, and stimulation will lead to the feeling of pleasure and the manifestation of positive emotions in the child. Also, it will enable a better balance and orientation.
How to know if equine therapy is the best choice for your child?
Horse therapy has been proving to be one of the most effective approaches for children with autism for years. This is an unaggressive, natural way to develop the essential skills that they need to function in society. However, it does not fall under the conventional methods of treatment, so it is not available to everyone and often, costs a lot. Fortunately, there are voluntary and humanitarian organizations that always meet parents. Also, try, of course, in consultation with your child’s therapist, to make the first contact with horses. See how the child reacts to the eye contact, touch, warmth of this beautiful creature. If you notice positive vibrations, this may be the right way to slowly, in small steps, introduce the child into the equine therapy.
People should spend more time with horses, that’s the fact. Riding and taking care of these graceful and sensual animals is not only fun, but it can also enrich the soul. A therapy that breaks down stress and makes worries disappear. In the end, if we look at humankind, all historical giants, heroes from books, princes, and warriors, had their partners and best friends, horses.