Riding is an enjoyable form of healthy, outdoor exercise, and an exciting, challenging and motivating activity with great therapeutic benefits. Riding and equestrian skills are also transferable into many aspects of daily life. Interactions with the horse enhances the therapeutic benefits.
Riding therapy programmes are designed to complement conventional therapies and special needs education. Safety standards and practices are in place and horses are specially selected and trained for the work.
The RDA Personnel along with others involved [e.g. teachers, physiotherapists] work collaboratively to ensure each Rider has an individual programme, which takes into account their abilities, needs and personal goals. In all cases, the therapeutic use of the horse involves a team approach of the Coaches, the medical/education professionals, the Rider and their support people (horse leader and side walkers) and of course, the Horse.
Benefits of Riding
An RDA Riding Programme is used to develop, increase and improve:
Physical abilities: Muscle tone, balance, coordination, muscle strength, flexibility, fitness, posture, gait (ability to walk), respiration, circulation, metabolism, sensory perception and integration, independence: self-care and mobility.
Psychological abilities: Concentration, problem solving and decision making, insight, motivation, self-esteem, confidence, learning/practicing concepts e.g. letters, numbers, colours, distances, shapes etc.
Social abilities: Communication and social skills, learning appropriate behaviour and manners, interaction with peers – both individuals and groups – human/animal contact and bonding, building relationships, consideration for others and taking on responsibility.
Recreational/sport/vocational abilities: Equestrian skills and horse management, develop interests, broaden experiences, challenge and success in competition with self and others, stimulation and/or relaxation, integration and community participation, work experience.