The Therapy Horse: An Integral Player

Therapeutic riding is for people of all ages with various disabilities, and it has become very popular. For horses, however, the invitation is much more re-stricted. There are specialized expectations of a horse used in therapeutic riding. If

Share
Favorite
Close

No account yet? Register

ADVERTISEMENT

Therapeutic riding is for people of all ages with various disabilities, and it has become very popular. For horses, however, the invitation is much more re-stricted. There are specialized expectations of a horse used in therapeutic riding. If there were a Therapy Horse Admissions Test (“THAT”) analogous to the SAT or GRE, competitive scores for THAT would start at 700.


Foremost, a therapy horse needs to be safe, predictable, and sound. He has to be intelligent, well-conditioned, unflappable, sensitive, patient, hard-working, balanced, and versatile. He must also be tolerant of unpredictable noises and positional changes made by riders, and responsive to his handler’s instructions. These qualifications insure safety for the rider, and provide an environment that allows the rider to enjoy and benefit from his or her experiences with horses.


The benefits to the rider are much more extensive than most people know. In addition to learning riding skills, the rider develops physical strength, flexibility, and coordination. Exercises specific to the person’s disabilities are employed to improve motor skills and improve balance and body awareness. Communication and expressive language skills also develop. All of these benefits enhance self-esteem.


Just as the horse improves quality of life for the rider, quality of life is equally as important for the horse. Daniel Feeney, DVM, the regular veterinarian for several therapeutic riding centers in Connecticut and Florida, recommends “ample turnout, a regulated workload, consistent exercise by able-bodied riders, and high-quality nutrition and veterinary care” as some of the ways to keep therapy horses healthy and happy

Create a free account with TheHorse.com to view this content.

TheHorse.com is home to thousands of free articles about horse health care. In order to access some of our exclusive free content, you must be signed into TheHorse.com.

Start your free account today!

Already have an account?
and continue reading.

Share

Written by:

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

When do you vaccinate your horse?
387 votes · 387 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with TheHorse.com!