How to Encourage a Person with a Disability to Start Horseriding

Horse riding is a wonderful pastime for many people and it is no different for a person with an emotional or physical disability - such a person can gain a lot of pleasure from riding. However, it can take a lot of encouragement to get them feeling confident enough to ascend a horse and begin to enjoy a wonderful new hobby. Here are some ways that you might be able to help out.

Steps

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    Be certain that the disabled person likes animals and is looking for an outdoor outlet. There is no use forcing anyone to do something against their wishes.
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    Find out what inspires the disabled person to take up riding. There are several reasons why disabled people choose to ride, ranging from therapeutic, sport, recreation, communing with nature, exploring a relationship with one of man's best allies, educational etc. Hippo therapy can improve the quality of life of a truly engaged disabled person, so it is definitely worth raising as a good outdoor activity for a disabled person champing at the bit to get out there and experience the free movement of nature via a caring animal.
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    Seek out a good organization that can help. There are very reputable organizations in many countries that cater for disabled riding. Get their information pamphlets, look them up online and phone them for an appointment. Share the information with the person you are seeking to encourage and ask them to come to the appointment with you. If possible, arrange a meeting with some of the horses to help a familiarization process take place.
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    Demonstrate the benefits of horse riding for people with a disability. Horse riding can result in innumerable benefits. For one, the relationship between rider and horse is unquantifiable and is a great source of affection, support and connection that is hard to describe adequately in words. Disabled persons who horse ride have been known to increase their levels of confidence, their interactiveness with people and have overcome fear and pain barriers that previously held them back. Physical benefits include improvements in balance, flexibility, muscle strength, toning, spatial awareness and coordination. Emotional benefits besides the bonding include increased concentration skills, planning skills, improved self-esteem, increased confidence and patience.
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    Take charge of getting the person to and from the horse riding place on a regular basis. Many great plans die for lack of transport and someone must be responsible for this aspect.
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    Purchase horse riding gear together. Take the disabled person to a horse riding gear specialist to obtain the appropriate gear. Ask about making modifications as needed and get these done well in advance of lessons.
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    Book and attend lessons. You should have already decided in advance if group or individual lessons will work best in the particular situation. Take into account level of knowledge, fears, need for company, availability of teachers etc.

Tips

  • For intellectually disabled persons, use images and stories as part of your context-setting to enthuse their interest in horses.

Article Info

Categories: Horses