EQUESTRIAN THERAPY, AN AID FOR INTEGRATION
The passion for horses has united all its members in this common project. In the association, they carry out interventions assisted with horses in order to help people through the benefits that these animals provide at a motor, psychological, educational, and social level. Barbara’s specialization as a psychologist is equestrian therapy.
What prompted you, at Equestrian Clydesdale Horse Association, to offer horse therapy for children? What are the equestrian therapies that you offer in your center? What are the benefits of these therapies for children?
Horse-assisted interventions are those interventions, whether therapeutic, educational or leisure, in which the horse is incorporated as a resource to achieve the objectives proposed for each user or group with whom we work.
The final objective of these interventions is to achieve greater autonomy in patients to improve their quality of life and promote their social integration.
Horses provide multiple benefits that allow us to work simultaneously on aspects of the motor, cognitive, emotional, sensory and social areas. However, it is important to note that the success of the therapy is not based only on the benefits provided by the horse, but on the intervention carried out by the therapist, which will be different for each user and based on therapeutic and / or educational objectives.
For the interventions to be effective and safe, it is essential that they are designed and carried out by a health, educational or social professional, depending on the user who receives the therapy in each case. These professionals are the ones who have the basic knowledge for the treatment of the patients with whom we work and, in addition, they must have specific training in Equestrian Therapies to know how to use the horse as a resource and achieve the success of their intervention.
We carry out the following interventions:
- Horse therapy: hippotherapy and therapeutic riding.
- Educative intervention.
- Leisure with horses.
What part of your work team is essential? Is there an element that should never be missing from an equestrian therapy class and why?
A good individual work plan adjusted to the objectives of each patient is essential in equestrian therapy sessions. The well-being of the horse and safety should never be lacking during classes.
What is behavioral and emotional therapy? What type of patients do you recommend it to? Based on your professional experience, what is the proven effectiveness of these techniques?
Behavior and emotion therapy is aimed at children and adolescents with problems when it comes to relating, behavioral, emotional, self-control problems, attention deficit, hyperactivity, self-esteem …
They are interventions that are based on the experiences we acquire during the sessions through contact with the horse and the exercises that the therapist proposes to achieve the objectives set.
The sessions are based on the affective bond that is established between the child and the horse and the motivation generated in the boys by contact with the animal. People’s problems are dealt with in a metaphorical way and thus emotions, behaviors and behavior patterns that generate positive relationships are elaborated. This will facilitate the development of appropriate social skills, attitudes of collaboration and solidarity.
The ability to handle the horse and make it obey is a very important experience for the self-affirmation and self-esteem of any person. For this reason, a feeling of power develops and with this the will to overcome resistance and obstacles in life and to overcome oneself grows.
How do you evaluate the patient and decide the treatment to follow? How can you request an evaluation from your experts? What is the process to apply for enrollment in horse riding classes for children? What schedules do you currently have to attend these courses?
We carry out an evaluation of the patient through a test session with the horse and an interview with the user himself and the family. Afterwards, a collection of data obtained in the test session and in the user’s medical and / or educational reports is made. With all the information, an individual work plan is prepared tailored to the specific needs of each user (objectives to be worked on, type of therapy, professional who will attend to him, horse that we are going to use, etc.).