The power of the horse is beneficial for people living with all types of disabilities.
Physical Benefits: Horseback riding rhythmically moves the rider's body in a manner similar to a human gait, riders with physical disabilities often show improvement in flexibility, balance and muscle strength. On average a horse walks 100 steps per minute so for example, 20 minutes of walking = 2000 opportunities for neuromuscular input.
Cognitive Benefits: It takes a high level of focus and concentration to remain balanced when riding a horse; the body’s natural reflex to remain balanced improves muscle development, while that concentration needed helps to increase brain activity for clients with developmental disorders.
Psychological/Emotional Benefits: Horses communicate non-verbally so they are in tune with picking up on body language as a means for survival. Body language is a wide open window to our emotional state. When working with horses - large, powerful animals - clients take part in exercises that can trigger a range of emotions - anything from anxiety to fear. This provides an opportunity to see how those feelings are affecting the horse and how to productively work through them. If clients can overcome that fear and anxiety to gain the trust of their horse, then they can use those same skills in different situations pertinent to their everyday lives.
At NVTRP, students are given the opportunity to create strong bonds with our amazing equine partners and strengthen body and mind through equine-assisted services. We offer the following services to the community.