The term therapeutic riding was originally used in Germany to address orthopedic dysfunctions such as scoliosis. The physician would engage a physical therapist and a specially-trained horse and instructor to address the strength and orthopedic dysfunction.
The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) accredits centers providing a variety of beneficial services to people with disabilities. These services fall into two general categories – “Equine-Assisted Activity” and “Equine-Assisted Therapy.”
Learn More about Therapeutic Horses.
I have always supported therapy horses. The horse’s usefulness has endless possibilities and has been proven for decades by their versatile job descriptions. But it wasn’t until recently that I realized they were useful to me too, only now in an entirely different capacity.
With back issues, sometimes the easiest tasks can be incredibly difficult, including walking. I never thought twice about owning a pony, until now. I bought my first little Shetland Pony three weeks ago, solely as a companion for my donkey. It also made good sense to have a horse in a smaller package considering my physical limitations. But as it turns out, Louie’s usefulness took an unexpected turn. He’s still pals with the long ear, but since my doctor ordered me to walk, Louie is not only my new walking partner, but my cane.
It didn’t take long for Louie to pick up on my labored stride and frequent stops as odd. I didn’t ask anything from him, he just learned on his own that I needed help. He began stepping ahead and waiting for me to put my hand on his withers before moving forward. He’s just the right size to lean on, and the perfect partner for my journey to recovery.
I underestimated Louie’s usefulness, he may be little, but he’s big enough to take on two very important jobs.
More About Little Therapy Horses
The therapy horses of Gentle Carousel visited over 18,000 adults and children in 2011.
Their team of tiny therapy horses work inside hospitals, assisted living programs, hospice programs,programs for Alzheimer patients and with adults and children with disabilities. They also work with foster children and at risk and abused children.
Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses is an all volunteer 501(c)(3) non-profit charity.
amy elizabeth, TBN Ranch
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