Some of the benefits of riding a horse can include improved self-esteem and confidence, increased muscle strength and balance, better trunk control and posture, improved hand-eye coordination, enhanced communication and social skills, improved focus and concentration, as well as fun, friendship and learning responsibility.
When you ride a horse, the horse moves your pelvis in the same up and down, side to side, and back and forth motion that happens when a person walks. So for those who are unable to walk or who have an altered gait, riding helps to strengthen core abdominal and trunk muscles. In addition, the balance required to sit upon a horse in motion helps those with proprioceptive and coordination goals. There is also something about the rhythm and gait of the horse that stimulates the human brain which can improve speech.
Some of our clients have enjoyed improvements in their coordination, strength, and balance in addition to their gait and ability to swallow. Some have learned to read, recognize letters and numbers, as well as have had increases in their basic math skills and problem solving strategies. Many of our students have learned how to make friends, deal with frustrations, follow multi-step directions, and make choices while increasing their verbal as well as non-verbal communication skills.
Some of our riders have gone on to higher pursuits of horsemanship and have participated in horse shows, clinics, trail rides and horse ownership! The best part of all is that it is REALLY FUN!
It is widely recognized that equine-assisted activities and therapies have positive benefits on the physical, emotional, social, cognitive, behavioral and educational wellbeing of people with disabilities. Equine-assisted activities provide benefits that participants cannot typically receive through other therapies. Therapeutic riding encourages the rider to use his/her entire body to guide and control the horse as well as maintain balance. In addition to these physical requirements, an emotional bond also develops between the horse and rider.
The mother of one rider writes:
The Shane Center is a dynamic program for individuals with disabilities providing them the professional support they need for success in a controlled, safe equestrian environment.
The mother of another rider writes:
The Shane Center is a place for ALL. The farm is growing every year. There is a great need for expansion so other children like my son may have the same life changing experience. We are incredibly thankful to Karen Sanchez and The Shane Center for all they have done for our son.
A retired US Marine Veteran:
The Shane Center offers a sense of security, understanding and safety that is so often missing when you live with a mental/emotional illness.