Asperger's and Riding - Page 4

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Asperger's and Riding

This is a discussion on Asperger's and Riding within the Therapeutic Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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        02-27-2013, 07:10 AM
    You said she messes with the reins because the horse is 'acting up' ask her how the horse is acting up, or suggest another way for her to react to it. Telling her to do one thing obviously isn't comfortable for her if she keeps going back to her old methods. Maybe a trainer before told her to hold the reins like that. 'Drop your hands' is a very vague statement so maybe try telling or showing her how to hold the reins instead. My cousin has aspergers. She was very reactive and gave a short explanation of things because she felt she couldn't tell me how she was really feeling. But when I stopped and gave her the time to tell me how she felt things went better. Sometimes it took her longer to figure out how to put her feelings into words so she just did what made her feel comfortable. Be clear with your instructions without being vague and try giving her alternate things to do. Instead of saying 'don't do that' show her or tell her how it should be done.
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        02-27-2013, 10:37 AM
    Originally Posted by BlooBabe    
    Instead of saying 'don't do that' show her or tell her how it should be done.
    THIS. THIS THIS THIS. I can't emphasize it enough.

    Aspies are perfectionists. HUGE perfectionists. We don't like to be told we're wrong, but we love to be shown a better way of doing things... if it's shown to us right. For example, the best coach I have EVER had said to me:

    "Instead of concentrating on the sideways, concentrate on picking up those shoulders and putting them where you want them. He'll move off your leg so much easier."

    BINGO instant awesome laterals. Well.. awesome compared to what my horse HAS been giving me. She didn't say I was doing it wrong, she didn't say don't whatever... she just said "oh this way's a bit easier, how about you try it?"
    EvilHorseOfDoom and Chokolate like this.
        03-04-2013, 04:16 PM
    I'm mildly somewhere on the autistic spectrum (where I live no one bothers to diagnose or treat that as long as you function more or less in an acceptable manner) and also suffer from depression and anxiety (that gets treated by drugging me up terribly) as well as a nasty joint disorder.

    Horses have helped me amazingly both with keeping my body and my soul together, but I do face challenges.

    The main one is probably riding in the same arena with other riders. I seem to be unable to figure out what will they do next. Iyt's ok if only one or two horses are there and we all work under one trainer, but if there are ''freelancers'' as well, the Hell comes loose. Several times only my horse galloping away saved me from crashing.(luckily I ride on belt or bareback and have exceptionally stable seat, I have fallen only if for some reason I'm riding on a saddle). I also get nervos if there are no visual cues which indicate where I have to ride, for example the arena has been just smoothed out and there are no trails in the sand. I also dislike using a crop and will work with my legs and back to the point of exhaustion to get horse moving where a small tap would solve the issue.

    I absolutely enjoy riding without reins, when I was younger my trainer had this old and really safe horse, she would just let me in the small arena all alone and let me trot around without reins. It's such a sense of freedom!
        03-04-2013, 06:04 PM
    Just came across this. Hope things are going well for you, Piper.

    I have autism and I ride.

    Back when I was in lessons, the hardest thing for me was switching horses. I grew very attached to my horse that I rode regularly and it was difficult to switch. I did learn to do that, though, and I'm glad I got the chance to ride many different horses.

    My main issue is I cry (or laugh or have other inappropriate reactions to emotions) when I get frustrated, and along with sensory/social issues, I have fine and large motor issues. I may want to move my hand a certain way, but I can't. Up until a few years ago I could not tie my own boots, I could barely do the buckles on my bridle because of the finger work involved. Everyone asks why my horses go so well without nosebands, it's because I was too klutzy to use them for so long :) At any rate, I would end up crying, not because I was unhappy or not even because I wasn't having fun, it is just the main way my emotions came out, especially when I was a younger adult.

    Remember too, that any sensory problem is going to come out ten fold when it's hot, when it's cold, when she's sore, if it's loud in the arena, etc... I take medications to help with these things, but still if too many senses go into hyperdrive at once, I have a bit of a meltdown (which for me is silent, not the angry/screaming a lot of people get).

    My current trainer has been the best in regards to my learning and riding, not only do I feel comfortable and confident in him, but he does not ever raise his voice, which leads me to yelling "what??" sometimes, and he follows along being very visual with me, walking me through things one step at a time.

    I am glad to see the amount of people here opening up. I also have BPD, autism, depression and anxiety, and there is so much stigma attached that it becomes a tough burden to carry by yourself.

    This video is embarassing because it's from 4 years ago and very poor riding, however you can see the way both my trainers deal with my mistakes. Not harsh, just repeating until we get it right. My mare can be hot, but very rarely am I afraid of her, but the stadium part of the video I was afraid. My reaction to fear is to laugh, which is why I'm laughing hysterically in the second part of the video, every time I gave her the inside rein she would bolt. The better thing would have been to quit the lesson and work on ground rails or just on the longe to slow my mare down (which we have to do often) but I think this was a couple days before a horse trial. I was too afraid to release because of her speed and jumping imaginary fences by the open end of the arena. I've been told by every trainer to get an easier horse, but honestly, after 13 years with this one, that change would probably kill me ;)
        03-23-2013, 04:08 AM
    Just a quick note on hurting the horses occasionally.

    I have a child with autism and we have had her ride with a bare-back pad and a side-pull halter. Its all she's ever been offered to use to ride at this point.

    This was my choice because I wanted the physical therapy bare-back would offer and because I wanted her to learn how to communicate with the horse through body language not by tugging at its mouth.

    The last reason is that the side-pull halter kept her from hurting our pony while she learned about body language. Body language is a skill that most are born with and some are not. Like any skill, it can grow with practice.

    I'm not a therapist, I only know my own child as best I can. But perhaps the side-pull halter has value for other children or adults with autism.

    If nothing else, it can keep the horse from getting hurt while the rider learns about consequences and the instructors expectations.
    NeuroticMare likes this.
        03-23-2013, 04:48 PM
    Excellent point Saen!

    I ride my mare with a leather sidepull with a fleece over the nose for jumping, not only because I make mistakes, but because of her pink face she gets very sunburned and her lips will crack. I school her in her regular bridle/bit once a week or so because she HAS to go in a bit for dressage.

        03-23-2013, 04:54 PM
    Green Broke
    I have not read through this whole thread but wanted to just say, I was under the understanding that people with the high functioning Asperger's have trouble lying. My son has Asperger's and really is uncomfortable when he does not want to tell you something because he seem incapable of lying.
    Makes me think.
        03-23-2013, 06:15 PM
    Nvr2many, it's different for everyone on the spectrum. I am DEFINITELY an Aspie, and I have no problem with lying. I'm pretty terrible at it and nobody ever believes me, but I have no difficulty with the concept. My brother on the other hand, who doesn't function as well as I do [it runs in our family, we never had a chance of being 'normal' LOL], CANNOT lie. He has no filter :/ "your hair looks weird" pops out of his mouth on a regular basis. Mine is short atm and if I don't spend 1/2 hour in the bathroom in the morning, battling with hair gel, it sticks up in every direction. Granted, it DOES look pretty weird, but that's still a really awful thing to say to someone. He cops it EVERY time, but seems incapable of learning to keep his mouth shut.

    I also get "short hair doesn't suit you" from him, which is absolute bull, it does, and I get comments from EVERYONE else I meet about how nice my haircut is [when it's gelled] - he just has NO fashion sense! He isn't used to me having short hair, so it's a change, and he can't handle change. But he's going to have to get used to it, because I like having short hair.

    With some Aspies it seems to be selective - some of us can lie about certain things [for example, "I have a pony, no seriously, I really do" was one of my regular lies when I was little, I leased a pony for about 9 months when I was 7 and was -almost- given one for my 9th birthday but that didn't end up happening... I was 14 when I got my first horse] and not about others. I struggled with the concept of little 'white lies' when I was about 8, before you turn 8 people don't mind so much if you just blurt it out [you're a kid after all] but then people started getting all offended if I said what was on my mind. It was terribly confusing. Someone would ask how they looked, and I would honestly tell them that their skirt made them look fat, and would get evil looks... but they ASKED for my opinion! It wasn't MY fault they didn't like it. Right? Took me a while to get that one.
    nvr2many likes this.
        03-23-2013, 06:35 PM
    Green Broke
    Well, thank you! Maybe I am just lucky that he doesn't, lol. OR maybe he does and is good at it, lol. He is very high functioning and we didn't even discover it until he was in the fifth grade! Crazy huh?? Thing with him tho is, I will ask him something and he will say, I don't know, and I am like what do you mean you don't know. Then I wonder if he is lying.

    Oh and then there is my daughter, she is a tag kid, top 3% in the nation with smarts. Started school at 4 and graduated a year early, played two instruments, wants to major in law and minor in psychology.

    Ah, raising kids!
        03-23-2013, 06:54 PM
    "I don't know" might be his way of saying "I know but I don't want to tell you what I think and I don't want to lie to you".

    I was ten when I was 'provisionally' diagnosed. Four years later I was seen by a team of "specialists" [they didn't actually have a clue, long story that one] who said I was 'quirky' but neurotypical. I've always been high functioning.

    Aspies are very intelligent, good at book smarts. When we can be bothered. LOL! I am not into numbers at all, so I don't put much if any effort into math. For some reason numbers when applied to money is fun though? And even more fun applied to horses directly.

    I want to say more but I have to go - motorbike riding with my dad today and he just arrived to pick me up!
    nvr2many likes this.

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