The benefits of riding for those with disabilities have been recognized for over 3,000 years. Today, therapeutic riding and other safe, purposeful and supervised interaction with horses are recognized to benefit children and adults with almost any cognitive, physical and/or emotional disability.
Physical Benefits include:
- Pelvic and spine mobility
- Postural control
- Physical stamina
- Range of motion in joints and limbs
Cognitive Benefits include:
- Communication Skills
- Attention Span
- Structured thinking
Emotional Benefits include:
- Confidence and self-esteem
- Social Interaction
Why the Horse?
The connection between the horse and rider is one of mutual trust and shared responsibility with the common goal of empowerment. CARD brings horses and people with disabilities together in positive, life-changing ways.
The average horse walks at a rate of approximately 100 steps per minute. Just 5 minutes on a walking horse represents 500 neuro motor inputs to the patient. In a typical therapy session, 15 to 25 minutes of equine movement may be incorporated -which represents 1500 to 2500 neuromotor inputs to the client.
The motion of the horse’s walk is similar to the human gait, and the swinging, repetitive motion improves balance, coordination, strength, and muscle tone while gently mobilizing the joints.
It is not uncommon for a non-communicative child or adult to verbally communicate spontaneously with a horse. The horse provides a non-judgemental partnership and a safe space to develop skills..
Riders spend time each week with other riders, instructors, and volunteers who have similar interests. Each rider works as part of a team, exhibiting purposeful, goal-oriented behaviour. Achievements are recognized and celebrated.