Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapies
Therapeutic Horseback Riding
Therapeutic riding at the BINA Farm Center is an equine-assisted activity in which the primary goal is to teach riding skills, while also contributing positively to the cognitive, physical, emotional and social well-being of individuals with special needs. While accomplishing the goal of learning to ride a horse, our students experience improved strength, coordination, balance, focus and self-esteem.
Horses act as a powerful motivational tool for learning. In addition to the benefits gained by being on the horse, un-mounted horse related activities such as grooming or tacking can improve and reinforce motor planning, eye-hand coordination, visual recognition and social skills. There is less resistance to learning when animals are involved. Observing, interacting and working with horses not only engages individuals it can help them learn about themselves and their environment. Improvements can be seen in impulse control, self-confidence, communication skills, trusting others and problem solving skills.
This is a wonderful program that offers older children, teenagers and young adults who are interested in the field of caring for horses the opportunity to gain hands-on horsemanship experience. They can learn skills such as feeding and watering of the horses, daily maintenance of a barn, cleaning, bedding and care of saddlery.
Often our riders want to have more "horse" time and horsemanship lessons are a wonderful way to fulfill that. Children from all backgrounds can benefit from being part of this program. Families, friends and others in the community can participate in this program as well - thereby sharing in the experience. Individual or semi-private classes are available at a variety of times.
EQUINE ASSISTED THERAPIES
Occupational or Physical Therapy
BFC offers occupational and physical therapy using hippotherapy as a treatment strategy. Hippotherapy utilizes specific equine movement to address functional therapy goals as part of a patient’s integrated rehabilitation plan of care. Equine movement is continually modified during a treatment session based on the client’s response as well as the patient’s needs and rehabilitation progress. The horse’s gait provides rhythmic, symmetric, multi-dimensional and directional movement that can be repeated consistently during a treatment session. Hippotherapy offers the patient organized motor and sensory input that can be modified by the therapist to help patient's achieve functional goals. Our occupational and physical therapists treat individuals as young as 2 years old, as well as adults, who have a diagnosis of a neuromuscular disorder, cognitive impairment or sensory processing dysfunction which may be compounded by social and emotional challenges.
Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP)
EFP is a form of experiential psychotherapy that involves horses. It has the same goals and characteristics as traditional psychotherapy but utilizes the connection with an equine “co-therapist” to facilitate the progress and healing of the client. EFP harnesses the unique ability of horses to both nurture and provide strength to the people who interact with them.
EFP may include a wide variety of equine activities such as handling, grooming, lunging, riding and driving. In the form that most resembles traditional psychotherapy, EFP is facilitated by a licensed, credentialed mental health professional that is also credentialed as an equine professional. Alternatively, a licensed, credentialed mental health professional works along with a credentialed equine professional.
OTHER EQUINE ASSISTED ACTIVITIES AND THERAPIES
Students unable to participate in mounted riding, and those who desire another equestrian sport, can benefit from Carriage Driving. These classes are taught by PATH Intl. Certified Driving Instructors assisted by a therapist. The student sits beside the “whip” who is a trained, experienced instructor or volunteer. The client holds reins attached to a special halter and the whip holds reins attached to the horse’s bit to enable them to take over if needed. Working at the walk and trot, both indoors and outdoors helps the student feel the freedom and confidence of being independent. We hope to offer Carriage Driving at the end of 2017.
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