Horse therapy may help people with a variety of diseases, from cerebral palsy to autism and PTSD. Horse therapy is provided by licensed professionals who include horses in their treatment plans.
People of all ages with diverse abilities can benefit from experimental horse therapy. Horse therapies are used to treat a variety of conditions, from autism to PTSD. Animal therapy usually evokes images of cats and dogs, but animal-assisted therapy goes beyond pets.
For years, there has been a growing interest in the United States to examine how horses can improve emotionally and physically. This emerging field is known as equine adjuvant therapy (EAT) and the idea is simple: People of all ages, with diverse abilities, can benefit from treatment with horses.
Horse therapy services fall into three broad categories: therapy, equestrian learning, and equestrian learning, which include therapeutic riding and adaptive or recreational riding for people with disabilities.
What is equine therapy?
Horse therapy comes in many forms, from occupational therapy and physiotherapy to extensive psychological counseling. These services are provided by licensed professionals who include horses in their treatment plans. For example, therapists can use horses’ natural movement and feedback as a physiotherapy tool.
Benefits of Equine Therapy
In addition to the benefits of learning to ride, equestrian activities such as grooming, grooming, feeding and grooming or caring for saddles may also be used as mental health treatment options.
Caitlin Peters, Ph.D. Peters also uses adaptive riding in his work, which uses multi-step “sequencing” activities in his occupational therapy research focused on young people with autism, such as learning how to saddle a horse.
“I work on fine motor skills, for example, helping to fasten buckles on the saddle is a great activity,” he says. Speech therapy while riding can also help patients control their breathing. In physiotherapy, patients with cerebral palsy can ride horses to improve their balance and posture. 》
Horse therapy research
In a 2020 meta-analysis, researchers found that equine physiotherapy helped children with cerebral palsy regain unpleasant motor function, which included whole-body movements such as sitting or standing. A small 2020 study of 33 people with MS found that this type of treatment intervention improved patients’ ability to walk.
“Many young people with autism have sensory processing differences, so horse therapy is good for coping with tactile, auditory, and olfactory problems, as well as atrial fibrillation and sensory disturbances,” says Peters. 》
A small 2017 study of young people with PTSD found that equine psychotherapy is almost as effective as psychotherapy. A small clinical trial in 2020 shows that this type of treatment for people with PTSD may be promising to relieve short-term symptoms.
A small study in 2018 of young people with ADHD showed an improvement in quality of life and attention with equine therapy, similar to the study group that used medication. Of course, for all these conditions, more research is needed.