Horseback Riding as Therapeutic Sport

Health prevention

Health sport or fitness training  means exercising the body regularly and in a balanced way, as a preventive measure to prevent health damage. Such health damaging factors could be, for example, lack of physical activity at school or at the workplace, but also physical or mental stress.  With horse riding as health-promoting sport we aim to counter these factors through the fun of group riding activities and in working together with these friendly, yet strong animals, the horses and ponies.

What makes horseback riding such a good alternative?

The main goal here is not to learn horse-riding, but to improve posture stability and the strengthening of the back.

The vibrations emanating from the horse's gate stimulate especially the deep muscles of the rider's trunk  because of the repetitive, three-dimensional, impulses. In order to keep his balance, the rider rhythmically tightens and releases his muscles. This strengthens weak muscles, loosens tense muscles and improves muscle coordination. Through the horse’s movement, the vertebral disks receive an optimal blood circulation and supply, which can help prevent back and posture problems.

What is being done?

The training  is complemented by a targeted warm-up session. Stretching,  loosening and strengthening of the abdominal and back muscles are the core of the Preventive Posture Training. Strength exercises are carried out on the ground, for example with with Thera balls and Thera belts. Next are exercises on the back of the walking  horse which is being led by the reigns by an assistant. The training of balance and coordination  is also used in prevention training. Improved body awareness and a health-promoting physical activity are a good defense against the development of diseases, reducing risk factors and improving general performance and well-being.Each training unit is ended with stretching and relaxation exercises. It is recommended to take up some kind of complementary physical activity to improve overall endurance . The adaptation of a healthy lifestyle and nutrition is just as important as attending the therapeutic exercise sessions.

What makes it so special?

What makes therapeutic riding so very special is, of course, the company of the horse. It's fun and challenging. Because of the horse's immediate response to the rider actions, it directly reflects the rider's behavior, hereby promoting the improvement of self-perception of the rider. Feeling the strength of the horse helps improve the rider's self-confidence. The total focus on the horse as a partner during the lessons results in mental relaxation  and deceleration.

 

For whom is therapeutic riding suitable/beneficial?

The Preventive Posture Training can be attended by people of all ages, as long as there is no medical contraindication against horseback riding.

Riding as therapeutic sport is not 'therapy’!! It is also ideal for healthy people, who

  • suffer from lack of exercise or don't like exercising
  • want to get new motivation for physical activity
  • want to strengthen weak muscles or correct the results of dysponesis (chronic inappropriate use).
  • want to strengthen their psyche

In the event of pre-existing conditions, participation in therapeutic riding should first be discussed with your doctor.n.  In order to attend therapeutic riding a hernia must no longer be in the acute stage of inflammation. The same applies for multiple scleroses. Riding can have very positive effects on multiple sclerosis but only outside of the acute state.

 

Quality label 'Sport pro Gesundheit' ('Sport for Health'): Riding as therapeutic sport for preventive posture training  has been certified by the German Olympic Federation through their quality label.

 

Provided  the courses are carried out by certified "instructors in riding as a health sport", a standardized program is used, the attendees have undergone a preventive health-check ,  the cooperation with a riding club and quality management is in place.

In the event of pre-existing conditions, participation in therapeutic riding should first be discussed with your doctor.