FOR ADD / ADHD CHILDREN
THERAPEUTIC RIDING FOR ADD/ADHD CHILDREN
Horseback riding can be therapeutic for children and adolescents with ADD/ADHD. Therapeutic riding teaches the skills of focusing, concentrating, multi-tasking, and sequencing – taking it one step beyond the use of drugs
HOW CAN THERAPEUTIC RIDING HELP?
For years therapeutic riding programs have been a haven for children with ADD/ADHD.
A well-structured riding program can be an extremely rewarding and motivating treatment for these children. The symptoms of hyperactivity, distractibility, and impulsiveness have often prevented success in other attempts at organized sports. In therapeutic riding, however, the working on a one-to-one or two-to-one basis, along with the novelty inherent with horseback riding, is a natural medium for these “motor driven children.” Improvement in riding skills, coupled with a well-trained team of mental health professionals often lead to success for the first time in a child’s life.
HOW DOES THERAPEUTIC RIDING WORK?
First, the mere challenge of riding a horse takes concentration and focus. Something the children learn quickly is that if he/she’s not in control of the horse, the horse will control them. Controlling a horse is a rewarding achievement for anyone, but an ADD/ADHD child feels overwhelming achievement in gaining control….possible a first in their lives.
Secondly, the main focus of the program (besides increasing riding skills) revolves around challenging, increasingly difficult obstacle courses that the child must maneuver the horse through. This takes the skills of focusing, concentration and sequencing while focusing on two tasks – riding and getting through the obstacle course.
Finally, there is little (if any) rebellion from the child to complete the tasks presented. Taken out of the school setting or tutoring, the child is having fun learning the very same skills he/she may resist in a more formal setting.
The success rate of therapeutic riding is high – often helping turn the “disparaging label of ADD into a child who is Absolutely Delightfully Driven.”*
*from SRIDES: ADD by Colleen Zanin, MS, OTR
Links for websites with information on Therapeutic Riding Benefits: