An Alternative Therapy That Works With Kids

Few days ago we treated the issue of Defiant Kids, mentioning the hyperdiagnosis of ADHD and the excessive medical treatment that follows. Now we want to share an experience that works, not only with Defiant Kids or ADHD, but that benefits the overall wellbeing of all kids: Equine Therapy.

Equine Therapy is an experiential form of therapy that involves interactions between horses and humans in order to promote emotional, social, physical and mental growth in people. Unlike traditional therapy, equine therapy sessions take place in and around the natural surroundings of the stables.

Equine Therapy was used to teach riding skills to people with disabilities, but nowadays is also used as the discipline of using horses as a means to provide metaphoric experiences in order to promote emotional growth. It is used with people whom may find it difficult to communicate, interact with other people, carry out instructions, or even showing severe anti-social and aggressive behavior. In all cases it’s been clinically proven they become calmer and more communicative.

As therapists say, the (physical) development of the person is carried out harmoniously when we can integrate the notions of: body schema, balance, laterality, space and time. Using the horse as a mediator and through appropriate techniques, we can intervene positively on the adequacy of these five elements. These techniques are known as hippotherapy, (branch of Equine Therapy).

But Equine Therapy seeks to address the individual as a whole, achieving positive results not only in the psychomotor domain but also in the cognitive, social and emotional areas. Therefore, therapeutic riding is beneficial for children who present cognitive, physical, and emotional conditions, particularly children with autism, attention deficit disorder and bipolar disorders. But in fact, it is beneficial for all kids and teens.

Of course not all riding schools have therapists, or are able to offer a program on Equine Therapy . Despite this, the fact is just being around horses, interacting with them, our brainwave patterns change because they have a calming effect which helps stop people becoming fixated on past and/or negative events.

Although one may think this is an expensive sport, – even more expensive in the framework of therapeutic sessions – public institutions, schools, and youth associations can make special arrangements with associations, or riding schools so it becomes an affordable activity. In any case, positive results are guaranteed.

Author: Dr. Gonzalo Torquemada

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