How the magic of being around horses and horse riding can create benefits for people with disability at Pegasus.
There are 5 main benefits:
- Recreational (have fun!)
Being around horses and horse riding has so many benefits for adults and children with disability. Where most people think riding and working with horses is only a physical exercise, the activity offers much more.
The horse provides a three-dimensional rhythmic movement like the motion of human walking. This movement requires the participant to activate a variety of muscles. By placing the participant in different positions through games and speed-variations, a different set of muscles gets involved each time for balance, strength, relaxation, and stretch.
The movement of the horse as well as the presence of horses can, and usually does have a calming effect on participants taking part in a mounted or unmounted program. It allows for relaxation and release of tension. It can give the sense of wellbeing, showing and sharing an interest in life, it offers the opportunity to create new skills, it can help in emotional control and self-discipline, and it can increase self-confidence and self-awareness.
Horses and the people around them, can offer new friendships. This starts on arrival at the centre and often develops in friendships outside in the community.
To make such friendships especially with the horse, communication (whether verbal or otherwise) is in the form of words, body language or simply ‘being there’.
Caring and learning through horses is fun and therefore improves the ability to read (arena-letters), to follow patterns (obstacle course), recognising shapes (games), motor planning and focus (following instructions and activities) and an awareness of form and space by riding indoors, outdoors, and out in the paddock.
Whether riding a horse or being around horses, it’s common knowledge that benefits are gained through laughter, fun and expression of emotions. Being around horses and riding creates the opportunity for such a situation, often on a weekly basis, through games, teamwork and understanding of the horses.
Horse-riding then becomes a weekly sport for many!
However, some people with disability are unable to do a mounted program. For them there are unmounted programs available, called “Horseability” and these programs have all the benefits as above. They consist of working with the horse ‘on the ground’, learning to look after a horse, to feel and smell the horse on the farm, to socialise with like minded people, to learn and have fun.
RDA centre Pegasus offers all these benefits in our variety of programs.