equine therapy

definition of equine therapy: Therapy that involves individuals interacting with and riding on horses. Specially-trained therapists work with the individual and the horse. Equine therapy may be beneficial to people with a variety of special needs, including children with autism. Equine therapy may be either therapeutic horseback riding or hippotherapy.

Media Group and Stables Provide Horseback Riding for Kids with Autism

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WOWT in Omaha and Heartland Equine Therapeutic Riding Academy have combined resources to provide 16 therapy horses for kids with autism.

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WOWTChannel 6 in Omaha and Heartland Equine Therapeutic Riding Academy (HETRA) have combined resources to provide 16 therapy horses for kids with autism and other special needs. Studies have found that the horse's motion is like that of a child's, so that riding a horse increases muscle tone, coordination, and balance for riders. HETRA is a non-profit equine therapy center that has been in business since 1989; it benefits from donations and community volunteers.

Grand Cayman Equestrian Center Offers Equine Therapy for Kids with Autism

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Can you imagine living in the Cayman Islands, much less having accessibility to equine therapy for your child with autism?

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Can you imagine living in the Cayman Islands, much less having accessibility to equine therapy for your child with autism? Students from Lighthouse School attend the Equestrian Centre several times a week for therapeutic riding lessons. Equine therapy uses the horse’s movement to mimic a child’s walking. It helps with balance, self-esteem, and communication. The fees are paid by the Red Sail Group, a group of Cayman entrepreneurs, who also provide other benefits for children in the area.

Colorado Students with Autism Receive Equine Therapy

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Students with autism and other special needs in Colorado’s Lewis Palmer School District have the opportunity to receive equine therapy.

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Students with autism and other special needs in Colorado’s Lewis Palmer School District have the opportunity to receive equine therapy. Once a week for 8 weeks, Dena Sikole, the physical education instructor, takes students to Gypsy Winds Ranch to ride horses. Equine therapy has been found to help people with core balance, self-confidence, and social integration. Each week finds the kids learning more, for example, they first approach the horses, then they groom them, learn about the different parts, and finally mount and ride. One mom stated about her son with autism, “It's amazing the bond he's made with the horses. He's more outgoing now.”

New Equine Therapeutic Program Launched at Texas A&M University

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Texas A&M University initiated the Courtney Grimshaw Fowler Equine Therapeutic Program.

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Texas A&M University initiated the Courtney Grimshaw Fowler Equine Therapeutic Program. This equine therapy program will benefit children with autism and other special needs as well as area veterans. The program will begin with 20 horses and organized by a combination of university students, the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH), and Ride on Center for Kids (R.O.C.K.). The founder of R.O.C.K, Nancy Krenek, explained that “The horse doesn’t judge people. When you have a handicap, you get put in a box. Well, people need the opportunity to break out of the box and they can do that with a horse.”

Painting Horses as Autism Therapy?

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We write stories on the benefits of equine therapy for kids with autism; today we’re talking about painting the horses rather than riding them.

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We often write stories on the benefits of equine therapy for kids with autism; today we’re talking about painting the horses rather than riding them. Kicking Back Stables provided gentle horses for Georgia’s Spectrum Autism Support Group's campers. Many of the children have never been around horses and painting on them allows closeness, creativity, and social skills. The paint of course is non-toxic. Mary O’Connell, one of the Spectrum program consultants, explained, “They get to get close to the horses, and they have to learn that they must be calm and gentle. It may help children more severely affected by autism with the motorskills such as holding a paintbrush and painting with it.”

Young Man with Autism Transitions from High School

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Nick Llorens has autism and is about to graduate high school.

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Nick Llorens has autism and is about to graduate high school. When he was diagnosed as a child, his parents immediately turned to Judevine Center for Autism for various therapies, including speech and applied behavior analysis (ABA). In order to always be increasing his potential, Nick receives equine therapy at Cedar Creek Therapeutic Riding Center and developmental education at Focus on Learning. In addition, his parents have found their lives changed in response to Nick’s autism – they have slowed their pace of living and communicating. Becky Llorens explained, “We used to think he just didn't get it, but he just didn't get the time to respond. So it's challenging, and we think about it every day — how to more effectively communicate with Nick.” Now that Nick is graduating, he and his parents are transitioning to a new life for Nick. He currently works part-time, but hopes to increase his job skills and build his resume with Boone County Family Resources. The goal is for him to be as independent as possible.

Riding Therapy Organization Gets New Space

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The Sarasota Manatee Association for Riding Therapy (SMART), which offers equine therapy to kids with autismhas moved to a larger space.

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The Sarasota Manatee Association for Riding Therapy (SMART), which offers equine therapy to kids with autism and other special needs has moved to a larger space. The 15 horses have room to roam on 23 acres that includes two barns, a house, pond, swimming pool, and riding fields. At SMART, kids and adults are assisted onto their horses and then perform certain exercises. For example, riders might put their hands on their hips or grab a ring off a hook. All exercises are designed to help with strength, balance, and motion. One special trail is used for sensory work; horseback riders brush by chimes and ride by lovely smelling herbs. Plans for expansion include fishing in the pond, gardening therapy, and physical therapy space.

Community Resources Work Together to Help Kids with Special Needs

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Tina Robbins realized just how special her Kalamazoo community was when they stepped up to help her out with her son with autism.

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Tina Robbins realized just how special her Kalamazoo community was when they stepped up to help her out with her son with autism. Robbins is a single mom and her son Logan is a non-verbal youngster with autism. Robbins explained that Logan has sensory issues, wandering, and self-injurious behavior. As an advocate for her son, she reached out to Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (KCMHSAS) for help. Jeff Patton, CEO of KCMHSAS, explained that Kalamazoo is a caring community and different agencies pooled their resources to help Logan as well as other children with special needs. Western Michigan University provided speech and music therapy. He received his service dog, Denver, from Paws with a Cause. Cheff Therapeutic Riding Center provided equine therapy, while Project Lifesaver made sure that Logan didn’t wander away from home. Tina also gets help; Woods-Edge Learning Center and Family and Children’s Services Respite Program provides respite services, so that she can be re-energized and effective when caring for Logan.

Rodeo School Also Benefits Kids with Autism

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The Westwind Rodeo Academy in Alberta Canada offers equine therapy for people with autism.

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Along with its rodeo-themed curriculum, the Westwind Rodeo Academy in Alberta Canada offers equine therapy for people with autism. Shellee Shaw, the academy’s director began focusing on kids with disabilities in 2009. She believes that horses and kids with autism are a natural match; there is unconditional love from the animal, full body movement for the child, and reduction of stress. Teachers and therapists who help with the horseback riding talk about the improvements they have seen in children’s confidence and communication. “It probably is the most effective thing that I’ve done with kids,” said Lanny Smith, a counselor at Cardston Elementary School.

Groups Raising Funds for Equestrian Therapeutic Center

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Sitrin Health Care Center, Upstate Cerebral Palsy and Kelberman Center are fundraising to build an equine therapy center.

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Sitrin Health Care Center, Upstate Cerebral Palsy and Kelberman Center are fundraising to build an equine therapy center for kids with autism and other developmental and physical delays. These New York organizations will build the center on the Sitrin campus and will employ occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech therapists, and equine therapists. Studies have found that a horse’s movement mimics that of the human body; this in turn helps build muscle strength in kids who might be weak in those areas. In addition, being in relationship with a horse has been shown to promote calm, relaxation, social integration, and responsibility for people who receive equine therapy.

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