Equine therapy, or EAAT (Equine Assisted Activities and Therapy) refers to traditional riding or adaptive riding activities conducted by a PATH International (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) certified instructor. The participant must continuously contract and relax muscles to re-balance, which ultimately improves core strength, flexibility, and Balance.
For individuals with learning or mental disabilities, therapeutic riding compels them to increase concentration, patience, and discipline. If a psychological or emotional disability is present, the unique relationship formed with a horse can help improve interpersonal relationships as well. Here are some other advantages of equine therapy:
Studies have found that horses mimic the movements of the human gait. As a result, riding a horse can stimulate the muscles a person uses to walk that otherwise would not have been stimulated.
- Horses are amazingly intuitive, and able to foster strong emotional ties with people.
- Many people with disabilities are not able to sit up straight because of imbalance. Horses are able to tolerate this and alter their gait to balance the participant.
- Facing day-to-day life with a disability is difficult for anyone. Having an opportunity to look forward to something that is fun and recreational, while at the same time unwittingly therapeutic, is a very good thing.