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Therapy involving horses has become very popular over the last decade. The benefits include stress relief, improved self-esteem, increased confidence, and enhanced social skills. However, there can be many obstacles to overcome, including equipment issues, safety concerns, and finding horses who have the right temperament for your needs. This article will help you understand the different types of therapy that include horseback riding.  

1. Hippotherapy 

Hippotherapy is a form of physical activity where a horse is fitted with either fixed or loose reins and walks in place. This is a great exercise for the rider’s core strength and balance. 

Horseback riding allows the rider to focus his or her attention outward instead of inward. It helps improve posture and body awareness as the horse’s movement engages the rider. It is best suited for beginners with limited experience riding horses.  

2. Equine Assisted Psychotherapy 

Assistive psychotherapy (AP) involves working with a horse while seated on its back for therapeutic purposes. AP reduces anxiety, enhances self-confidence, improves concentration, and increases relaxation. Like other forms of horseback riding, it requires proper technique and knowledge to enjoy its benefits.   

If you feel stressed or anxious before going through some sessions, you may not feel much improvement afterward. Therefore, if you plan to try horseback riding as a form of therapy, you may want to first consult with your doctor about whether your condition warrants it. 

3. Therapeutic Horseback Riding 

Therapeutic horseback riding (THR) refers to a specialized form of equestrian therapy for people with mental health concerns. It combines the discipline and rhythm of riding with the nurturing care of a trusted friend or companion. THR clients build on one another’s strengths and work toward personal goals together.  

THR promotes healing by improving mood, alleviating depression, enhancing well-being, and decreasing anxiety. It also helps increase energy levels through its holistic approach.   

Horses are highly responsive to human attitude and behavior, making them natural indicators of a person’s emotional state. Their acceptance of humans and their nonjudgmental nature allow them to support individuals at all stages of rehabilitation. 

4. Equine Assisted Therapy  

Equine-assisted learning, sometimes referred to as equestrian education, is based on a partnership between a student and an instructor using a horse for educational purposes. The goal of equine-assisted therapy is to create a meaningful relationship with the horse by forming bonds through training.  

This includes leading the horse to new places, teaching, and encouraging trust and respect. The trainer usually does not ride in equine-assisted therapy sessions, and the student is typically inexperienced. 

Be sure to take your time and look for more information before deciding what type of equine-assisted therapy is right for you. Feel free to contact a professional with expertise in the field who can help guide you toward the best option available. 

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