Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Healing Ride

Put yourself in their shoes who are trapped in a body they cannot control. Your difficulty in walking, struggle with speech, suffer from visual problems can take its toll to your life. Mere thinking sends chills down your spine, isn't it?

True, life of a disability is agonising. People who undergo such disabilities struggle to talk and meet unbearable problems that a healthy person cannot think of. Hence, a treatment to cure their agonies is 'Equine Therapy' is a boon for them.

What is Equine Therapy?

It is a therapeutic horse riding, which offers the best remedy in disable children as an opportunity to gain a sense of control over their mind and bodies. This therapy is apt for disorders like autism, cerebral palsy, paralysis, amputations, multiple sclerosis, down syndrome and so on. Patients with such disorders spend
time with horses, which help them to develop a self-image with an optimistic trait. The motto of this therapy is to infuse positive energy in a disabled patient, thereby, cultivating a sense of morale and building a self-esteem. Centers Organizing Therapeutic Riding, Many centers have initiated to dedicate the best services in therapeutic riding across the globe.

To name a few, North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA), USA; New York Therapeutic Riding Centre; River wood Therapeutic Riding Centre, California; Healing Horse, Komal Hriday Trust, Bangalore, India. Origin of Equine Therapy: The history dates back to the 600 BC, when numerous therapeutic aids of horsemanship were brought up by the people. The first study of therapeutic benefits of riding a horse traces back to 1875.

Later, this therapeutic riding came into being with immense popularity with Lis Hartel, a woman from Denmark, who was fighting with her disability determined to have a horseride, and she was successful in her effort, which later grabbed attention of doctors and therapists. Horse Riding, A Reason To Heal: Many might not know that a formation of bond between a human and an animal has often cured many disabilities, so also the significance of equine therapy has been recognised when the heal turned out to be a boon for disable patients.

To foster emotional growth, the therapy has proved to be a metaphoric experience with horses. This experimental therapy lets people to know about themselves, makes them recognise of dysfunctional patterns of behavior and helps to develop a healthy relationship. Horse riding therapy is reckoned as an animal-assisted activity. The role of a horse makes the patient aware of an emotional condition, as the horse responds in reaction to human's behavior. A patient's link with the horse and a chance to acquire horsemanship skills boost a sense of achievement and fill the confidence in self.

To top it all, the horse's body and the movement are the tonics for the disabled patients, as they help stretch and relax the muscles. On riding a horse, one can get the benefit of muscle-tone, increase the energy level of body and improve posture. As per an equine therapist, the best way for a disabled patient to be comfortable and get acquainted with horses is to feed them. Alongside of the therapy, words of encouragement and a positive approach to life can bring out an optimistic attitude in the patient. With the gaining momentum, now the treatment is diagnosed in India.

The therapy was pioneered in India by Komal Hriday Trust, a Bangalore-based NGO, introduced the Healing Horses Programme in 2000, with the aim to provide therapeutic horse riding to disabled patients. And today, Equine Therapy is successfully carried out all over India with a strong, positive impact to be the reason of heal for physical and emotional-impaired patients. The success story behind is more than 350 disabled patients have been benefited through Equine Therapy.

Author --Aparna Mukherjee

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