Benefits of Riding
Briefly explore the benefits of Therapeutic Riding.
Banbury Cross provides programs for Adults and Children with Autism, ADD/ADHD, Cerebral Palsy, Down’s Syndrome,
Hearing Impairments, Sight Impairments, Learning Disabilities, Seizure Disorders, Traumatic Brain Injury, Mental
Impairment, Muscular Dystrophy,  Multiple Sclerosis, Spina Bifida, as well as many other disabilities. Programs are offered
year round to increase the benefits of habitual riding.
Educational

•color recognition
•shape recognition
•verbalization
•spatial awareness
•reading skills:
◦letter recognition
◦word recognition
◦basic sentences
•math skills:
◦number recognition
◦add/subtract
◦multiplication
◦fractions
◦measurements
Social

•teamwork
•care-giving
•empathy
•cooperation
•leadership
•independence
•partnership
•respect
•vocational exploration
•trust
•interpersonal relationships
Growth and achievement in one area is likely to affect growth and achievement in other areas. For example, a student who gains
strength in his trunk muscles can expend less energy on maintaining his balance, thereby enabling him to turn his attention to
taking a deep breath to speak clearly to his peers, focus totally on the problem at hand, or observe the world around him.

Participant needs and abilities are assessed before beginning the riding experience and on an ongoing basis, which allows the
instructor to structure the lesson to promote the most successful outcome for each student. In order to obtain the best results,
riding should be continued year-round and on a regular basis (few absences).
Therapeutic riding and equine-assisted activities are uniquely designed for people with cognitive, physical, emotional and social challenges. Students of all
enhanced independence and increased concentration and self-esteem. Therapeutic riding has proven to be a highly motivational and enriching therapeutic
and educational modality for students to set aside their crutches, wheelchairs and disabilities as they settle into the saddle.

The physical attributes and nature of the horse present an ideal opportunity to impact individuals with all levels of abilities and in all realms of growth and
learning. A horse's three-dimensional gait provides a movement unparalleled for therapeutic benefit to the rider with a physical disability. The movements
stimulate the rider's trunk and pelvis in a manner that closely resembles the normal gait of a human walk. This input produces specific physical changes in the
rider and promotes normalization of tone, postural improvement, improvements in balance and increased strength.

The attraction of the horse and the opportunity to bond with this gentle giant also provides motivation and encouragement to riders with emotional and/or
psychological challenges. When students realize that a real relationship exists between them and their horse, quality programming can nurture the
development of life skills like responsibility, honesty and respect.

Riding for the disabled has a history of successes that extends back to Europe in the 1940’s, when a few therapists began to use the gentle and rhythmic
movement of the horse to stimulate the muscles used the typical human walk, unable to be repeated solely by the disabled rider. They found that the motion
relaxes muscles while simultaneously stimulating the development and toning of the underlying muscle.


Some of the benefits associated with Therapeutic Riding:
Physical

•rhythm, timing
•stimulation
•sensory registration
•sensory integration
•movement exploration
•awareness of body in space
•motor control, fine and gross
•postural alignment
(dynamic and static)
•postural control
•balance
•coordination
•endurance/fitness
•normalization of muscle tone
•oral motor control
•respiratory control
•visual/spatial orientation
•dexterity
•increased muscle strength
Cognitive

•sequencing
•executive functioning
•judgment
•problem-solving
•memory development
•patience
•following multi-step directions
•self-expression
•task completion
•insight
•attention to task
•decision making


Spiritual

•participation with nature
•connection with animals/people
•mindfulness
Emotional

•motivation
•ability to face challenges/risk-taking
•improved self-esteem
•decision-making skills or "making choices"
•goal-setting
•hopefulness
•intuition
•mood regulation
•safety awareness
•empowerment
•sense of control