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krystin3923 09-22-2009 09:37 PM

Best Breed for therapy?
Hi im krystin
im a college student and going to start using horses as therapy for special education students and possibly handicap people.
basically use them for therapy. to help with a rbroad range of people
and i was wondering opinions on the best breed to use for this therapy.
a horse that is laid back, friendly and can handle stuff like that.

your opinion is greatly appriciated!

ridergirl23 09-22-2009 09:42 PM

well, really any breed, haha people probably will not recoment thoroughbreds but my first horse was a thoroughbred and you would never find a safer horse. but i think most just backyard horses tat dont really have a breed are usualy great... i recomend quarter horses and any horse that has a good disposition and has been around children alot

krystin3923 09-22-2009 09:46 PM


Spastic_Dove 09-22-2009 09:49 PM

There's no best breed. Horses we have had include: Percheron, Mustang, QH, an ex Grand Prix TB, Arabs, etc.
Generally, you want something mid-height. Ponies can be difficult for mounted things though because of the short stride should you end up trotting.

Developmental riding therapy : a team approach to assessment and treatment
Spink, Jan. has a assesment chart, conformation info, and is an awesome resource.

krystin3923 09-22-2009 09:53 PM

thank you so much!

vivache 09-22-2009 09:54 PM

The center I volunteer at has one Paint.. two Morgans, a TB, a QH, and a Connemara.

kevinshorses 09-23-2009 01:09 AM

Any horse thats dead at both ends will work. Safe is the best attribute a therapy horse can have.

Spastic_Dove 09-23-2009 01:47 AM

Safe and enjoys his work.

xxBarry Godden 09-23-2009 05:09 AM

Breed is not important except that some breeds are known to be sharp.
In Britain we find that cobs - that is a cross breed horse with a fair amount of draught horse in the genes - very often show the best temperament.
It is temperament that counts. You can't tell how they react to children or to handicapped adults until they come face to face with the "patient".
Sometimes the horse's reaction will bring tears to the eyes.

My Joe could be a devil to me, but to children - of all ages- he was the perfect gent. He taught a friend of mine's 2.5 year old son who to ride.

You have to suck it and see. But you can tell very very quickly.
It is all in the pheramones.


xxBarry Godden 09-23-2009 05:51 AM

PS I forgot to mention something.

We are talking about the horses reacting to children - the fascinating thing is to watch children and handicapped adults reacting to horses.
Somehow the kids come alive when they can get close to the horse.
The handicapped adult gains mobility.

Some troubled youths also react well - the horse becomes a thing to give affection to and receive attention from.

We have in the UK the "Riding for the Disabled Association" - they probably have a web site - do a Google.

There is also a Paraplegic Horse Riding Organisation - I have watched a man and a woman, neither of whom had use of their legs, do a full dressage test. They were both dressed up in the formal apparel and looked very smart. It wasn't until they were helped off the back of the horse that you realised just how handicapped they were - on the ground. On the horse they had been whole.

There is something that some horses sense about the "disadvantaged" human which makes it all work. The horse offers the disabled a relationship which perhaps would be difficult to acquire otherwise.

But you are going to need some skilled horse handlers - the horse still has heavy feet.

All I can say is : "Do it!" It is a well worthwhile exercise, but buy a good stock of paper tissues to wipe the eyes.

Barry G

PS A RADA (Riding for Disabled) horse is worth its weight in gold.

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