Many disabled people benefit from riding, some from the therapy it gives, others by actually learning to ride. The benefits can be enormous and wide-ranging. They include improvements to balance, co-ordination, muscle tone, concentration and behavior.
The riders may benefit from the necessary discipline, respond to requests, overcome fears, learn trust and interact socially with their helpers and their peers, developing an increase in confidence and self-esteem.
(L to R) Sandra Cooper, Wijittagorn Thanvong, Prof Siriporn Peansukmanee, Mathita Keawsutthi, Vera Comerford, Somchai Lowsoponkul demonstrate using the reigns.
The horse moving naturally in walk simulates a movement as close to the human walk as is possible. This movement is used as a treatment base. Each rider is taught on the basis of their own individual needs and goals within a group lesson aided by the volunteers. The movement and the warmth of the horse encourages relaxation, stimulates the function of the internal organs and digestive tracts. The riders develop balance and learn to position themselves to accommodate the pony’s movement. In time, co-ordination and communication may be developed and improved. It can offer the opportunity for physically and otherwise challenged people to experience mobility on a par with their able bodied peers.
(L to R) Kanyanat Lansadd, Tim Lansadd, Somchai Lowsoponkul, Wijittagorn Thanvong, Vera Comerford, Sandra Cooper (Therapist), Diane Radford, Prof Sireporn Peansukmanee, Mathita Keawsutthi, and Margrit Hoffman attend training & coaching at Horseshoe Point Pattaya.
Throughout Thailand many riding clubs are starting to understand the huge benefits of Equine Assisted Therapy. Recently, riding instructors from Horse Guard Riding Club, Hat Yai Horse Sport, Chiang Mai University along with other Bangkok Riding Clubs have been attending training & coaching from riding therapist Sandra Cooper at Horseshoe Point Pattaya. Sandra has trained and helped qualify riding instructors and volunteers for many years in Malaysia. Now living in Thailand, Sandra is trying to implement a qualification system by the end of 2014. A log book for qualifications will be acquired from the UK and adapted for Thailand.
Attendees have been learning how to set up a safe environment for therapy classes. Finding suitable quiet ponies/horses takes time and training to teach them to cope with this therapy which is most important. Training is given on mounting and dismounting all disabilities as their needs are very different. How to work and fix a programme with disabilities such as Autism, Downs Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy which are the most common disabilities we face.
On October 12th/13th attendees experienced working in a class situation and how to lead therapy horses correctly. If you would like further information on how to attend these courses, or would like to volunteer at Horseshoe Point Pattaya, please contact Riding Therapist Sandra Cooper on 086 8483684.