Horse Therapy and Autism

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Horse Therapy and Autism

This is a discussion on Horse Therapy and Autism within the Therapeutic Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Equine therapy for high functioning autism
  • I have seen the benefits of therapuetic horsebacking riding for children of autism

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    06-20-2013, 09:55 PM
Horse Therapy and Autism

Hi guys, for my last year of high school I am doing a major work about Autism and Equine (horse) Therapy and am trying to determine how effective it is. So, just wondering what peoples opinions or even experiences have been around this subject. Thanks!
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    06-21-2013, 12:49 AM
Green Broke
There is a fairly recent thread about riders with Asperger's Autism and riding.

Asperger's and Riding

Based on my observation of people who participate in therapeutic riding programs, persons with diagnoses considered psychiatric show longer lasting benefits than those with solely physical challenges.
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    06-21-2013, 12:59 AM
Green Broke
Depending on severity I have seen it be very beneficial. My sons bestie is Autistic, high functioning but very mentally erratic. He dearly loves animals of all sorts, the bigger the better and adores a short ride, and will groom all day, but does not like the instruction it takes to ride properly. Says it takes the fun out of it. This is a child that I have a relationship with to the point they call me to calm him and my children guide him- and to see the joy in his eyes when Flicka snuggles him is pure joy.
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    06-21-2013, 01:23 AM
Super Moderator
My son is autistic spectrum. I took him riding once. He did not like it and has not interest in horses. Folks with Autistic spectrum personalities can't really be lumped together as neatly as we'd like.
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    06-21-2013, 09:53 AM
Green Broke
^^^ So true, and a good point for us to remember. Hard for us horse lovers to comprehend!

I'm picturing a friend's grandson (has a diagnosis of being on the spectrum) who loves vacuum cleaners and their steers, but is uninterested in horses.

Viva la difference!
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    06-21-2013, 10:02 AM
I've looked into it some and have read that if you sing while they are riding it has good effects on their speech development. I just remember thinking that was an interesting point. There's some really sweet videos on you tube showing autistic children at different therapy barns.
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    06-22-2013, 02:34 AM
Thank you for your responses, I appreciate it. If you have any other info etc please share! All opinions are helpful :)
    06-22-2013, 02:36 AM
P.S boots thanks for the link!
    06-22-2013, 02:57 AM
There are a few different case studies - I know there was a recent one completed here in Australia. It was shown to have some positive affects on those with austism and aspergers, but it does depend on the child. It is not a clear cut every child with austism loves horses and interactions have positive affects.

I know of a little boy who is a friends son who loves horses, but its hard to tell whether that love has anything to do with the fact his is autistic.

Great topic though.
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    06-22-2013, 03:26 AM
Super Moderator
You probably already know of this film

Autism documentary 'The Horse Boy' is an eye-opening ride |
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