Equine-Assited Therapy

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The Helsinki Olympics, 1952. Liz Hartel won a silver medal in equestrian sports and told the world how riding had helped her recover from polio ("History"). Therapeutic riding is a term that has been used to encompass the variety of equine activities for individuals with disabilities, but the correct terminology for utilizing the movement of the horse as a treatment strategy to improve neuromuscular function is "hippotherapy," meaning "treatment with the help of the horse" from the Greek word, "hippos", meaning horse ("Hippotherapy"). Equine-assisted therapy is a positive and successful form of therapy for individuals with disabilities because it boosts confidence and allows for improvement in physical and occupational capabilities. Studies show that hippotherapy has proven to be beneficial for individuals with a variety of disabilities. Learning to master the horse increases the rider's self-esteem and confidence. Interacting with and controlling the horse enhances focus, decision-making skills, and effective verbal and nonverbal communication ("Why the Horse?"). Riders may become very satisfied and self-confident after successfully completing a task set by the instructor of the hippotherapy session. This feeling of confidence improves the rider's overall mood and makes them enjoy horseback riding even more. During a hippotherapy session, individuals work to improve their physical capabilities. While walking, the horse's body position changes periodically, allowing

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