We’re excited to announce that The Youthlight Foundation, a non-profit organization that mentors autistic children, has purchased the purebred gelding TA Beywatch to spearhead its new animal mentoring program, and that we will be participating in Youthlight’s therapeutic riding program here at the farm.
Therapeutic riding was first introduced in the United States in the late 1960’s. The approach utilizes instruction in horseback riding along with horsemanship skills to assist children with developmental or psychological disabilities. Research shows that participants can experience physical, emotional and mental rewards. The unique relationship formed between a child and the horse can also lead to increased confidence, patience, and self-esteem in individuals with mental, emotional or developmental disabilities.
Therapeutic riding is a Animal-assisted activity. Animal-assisted therapy is a therapeutic tool, because of the contact with another living being and the special bond that people form with animals. However, horses provide more than just skills acquired from a relationship with an animal learning to care for an animal. Riding a horse provides a unique and often profound activity for many children. The motion of the horse, concentration needed to acquire riding skills and the communication between the instructor and the rider allow people with a variety of disabilities to benefit from riding.
Riding helps the children interact with others to form meaningful relationships. Building a relationship with an animal is very rewarding in many aspects for a person with an emotional, social or psychological disability. The trust and loyalty an animal shows for children demonstrates how important these attributes are in personal relationships. The horse also helps the children feel in control of the situation because there is a direct correlation between action and reaction.
To learn how to care for and ride a horse, a child must also be able to communicate efficiently with the horse and the instructor. In this way, riding is a very social activity, but is less daunting to children who are uncomfortable in social situations. The experience of interacting with horses empowers children and enables them to connect on a personal level. It is our feeling that the Arabian horse is tremendously well suited for this endeavor due to its unparalleled ability to connect with human beings after centuries of interaction with people on a close level, and Beywatch is an exceptional individual who has already excelled at connecting non-horse people with the Arabian breed.
To learn more about the Youthlight foundation, visit their web site at www.youthlightfoundation.org. Thanks to the foundation for allowing the Arabian horse, and us, to participate in this great new program.