South African Riding for the Disabled Association
The association’s goal is to provide disabled individuals with the opportunity to participate in therapeutic and recreational horse riding. The Riding for the Disabled Association practises hippotherapy through Physiological, Occupational, and Speech Therapists. The horse is used as a treatment method to reach therapeutic goals. This opportunity may benefit the individuals in all aspects of their mental, physical, and social lives.
In hippotherapy, the horse’s movements provide multifaceted movement. The rhythmic and repetitive movement of the horse’s gait stimulates the rider’s muscles and helps build motor/muscle memory. The horse provides an active base of support which makes the horse an excellent tool for building core body strength and control, balance, overall strength, and stamina. Riding also addresses weight bearing and motor planning issues. The horse’s movement gives constant but moderate sensory stimulation for vision, audio, and perception. When an individual is sitting astride the horse, the horse’s walking gait resembles a human walking.
Positive Effects of Hippotherapy
- Effects of the horse’s movement improve posture, attention span, and sensory integration.
- Hippotherapy develops skill areas that are related to the overall motor ability such as sitting, standing, and walking.
- Hippotherapy is most useful for individuals who have moderate or severe mental and physical conditions.
The South African Riding for the Disabled Association teaches disabled individuals how to ride through qualified Riding for the Disabled riding instructors. These instructors may or may not be therapists. The ultimate goal is that the riders are taught to ride and can ride as independently as possible.