Gross motor skills: mounting, dismounting, two point (standing in stirrups)
Fine motor skills: finger dexterity holding reins, doing exercises/stretches, touching different parts of the horse
Core strength: horse’s movement is similar to human’s movement to help stand, walk, sit, stretches activate core muscles, riding without stirrups and balancing on seat
Balance and Coordination: sitting on horse, steering, looking left or right, feet out of stirrups, riding with eyes closed (helps student to feel the horse’s movements and how it moves them), around the world (spinning all the way around in the saddle)
Social skills: working with sidewalkers/horseleaders/instructors, student has to respect horse and praise it for good behavior
Sensory Integration: different sights, smells, textures of toys/game equipment, and sounds in a barn/arena setting
Cause and effect: different ways to maneuver horse with legs, hands, seat, voice
Problem solving: The rider is in control of the horse, so they must direct it where to go. During the lesson we play games and put the horse in different positions where the student may have to get close to a barrel, drop a ball in a bucket, match a card, etc.
We can sometimes use home life issues as examples, such as if the horse gets stubborn and frustrates the student, compare it to a Mother getting frustrated with child and refer to how the child would like to be treated.
Working with a horse gives the student a sense of accomplishment as they are working at their own pace and not compared to others.
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