Power of Horses Essay

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Wiley 1 HORSE THERAPY: A LIFE-CHANGING TREATMENT Amber Wiley Extended Essay Technical Advisor: Kate Sutton November 22, 2010 Word Count: 3,666 Wiley 2 Abstract Subject: Psychology Title: Horse Therapy: A Life-Changing Treatment Therapeutic horseback riding and hippotherapy are designed to benefit disabled individuals and can be referred to as horse therapy. The purpose of this paper is to answer the question: How and to what extent does horse therapy benefit disabled children? Many different articles were examined and personal volunteer experience was used to determine the physical and mental benefits of horse therapy. This paper shows that through movement and interactions with the animal, horse therapy improves disabled children’s physical function, emotional stability, and social interactions. Challenging activities on the horse improve the child’s balance, muscle control, coordination, and posture. The horse serves as a motivator and children benefit in many areas including self-esteem, self-confidence, emotional stability, and self- image. This paper also looks at the other applications of horse therapy, including therapy for veterans, elders, foster care children and children with heart disease. This paper discusses the limitations in the studies that have been done, and the reasons that horse therapy is not yet a mainstream treatment. Despite some limitations in the research, there is ample evidence to conclude that horse therapy is an effective treatment for children with disabilities. Wiley 3 Table of Contents Introduction..................................................................................................4 Background ..................................................................................................5 Why Horse Therapy? ...................................................................................6

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