• As the horse moves, the rider is constantly thrown off-balance, requiring that the rider’s muscles contract and relax in an attempt to rebalance the body. This exercise reaches deep muscles not assessable in conventional physical therapy.
  • The three-dimensional rhythmical movement of the horse is similar to the motion of walking, teaching rhythmical patterns to the muscles of the legs and trunk. Stopping and starting the horse, changing speed and changing direction add to the workout.  Even though riding is exercise, it is perceived as enjoyment, and therefore the rider has increased tolerance and motivation to lengthen the period and frequency of exercise.
  • Repetition of patterned movements required in controlling a horse quickens the reflexes and aids in motor planning.
  • Riding a horse requires stretching multiple muscle groups. Spasticity is reduced​ by the rhythmic motion of the horse. Sitting astride a horse helps to reduce extensor spasms of the lower limbs.
  • Riding stimulates the tactile senses through touch and environmental stimuli. The vestibular system is also stimulated by the movement of the horse, and by changes in direction and speed.
  • Exercise in the fresh air, away from hospitals, doctors offices, therapy rooms, or home helps to promote a sense of well-being.
  • The ability to control an​ animal much larger and stronger than oneself is a great confidence builder.


How Therapeutic Riding Works 

Physical Benefits: 

  • Improved coordination and normalized muscle tone
  • Relaxation of spastic muscles/facilitation of flaccid muscles
  • Improved posture, sitting and standing balance
  •  Improved gross and fine motor skills
  •  Increased functional range of motion and muscular strength
  •  Improved perceptual motor/sensory motor integration
  • Improved cardiovascular function and stamina         

Cognitive Benefits:

  •  Increased vocabulary – application and recall
  • Improved attention and concentration
  •  Improved sequencing and planning skills
  • Improved judgment and critical thinking skills
  •  Improved flexibility in thinking
  • Increased verbal integration and participation
  •  Increased visual and auditory discrimination

Psycho-Social Benefits:  

  •  Increased self-confidence, self esteem and self-control
  • Mastery of a difficult task
  • Improved positive social interactions and teamwork
  • Increased ability to appropriately solicit help and act independently
  • Increased desire to take risks
  • Increased empathy and sense of empowerment
  • Interaction with positive role models
  • Experience of success in a supportive environment        

Therapeutic Riding Information

Benefits of Therapeutic Riding