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EQUINE THERAPY

There is an old saying that states, The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man. Horses play an important role in the healing process at Moonridge Academy. Equine (horse) therapy is gaining wide acceptance as a powerful way of teaching important life-lessons. Our students are likely to experience some of the following benefits:


Develop Courage. Some of our girls are initially afraid of horses. Riding such large animals is different from anything they have experienced before. As they learn to conquer their initial fear and discover how gentle and affectionate the horses really are, they also begin developing a new pattern of challenging old fears and finding from within the courage to improve.

Increased Self-Confidence and Direction. Horsemanship is a new skill for most of our students. They experience the increased confidence that comes from learning how to do something potentially frightening or different. While riding, they learn to be decisive and to provide clear directions to their horse, lessons which often have carryover application into the rest of their lives.

Improved Communication Skills. Horses are keenly aware of the non-verbal cues of our riders. As our students become more aware of how their non-verbal communication affects the horse and how that horse reacts, they also grow more aware of the role that their non-verbal cues play with the important relationships in their lives.

Improved Ability to Trust. Our students learn you can develop a relationship and trust something that is bigger than themselves. This is especially important for victims of abuse.

Self-Acceptance. The unconditional acceptance of friendship that an animal can give allows some of our students to accept themselves for who they are, and is often a positive first step in developing normal relationships. As our students feel accepted by a horse, they often come to terms with themselves in a way that allows them to accept themselves as well.

Respect for Others. Horses only respond positively when the proper respect exists with the student. As our students learn both to earn and give that respect, life-lessons of earning and giving respect with family members and friends are an important byproduct.

Parents need to know that our students are never allowed to ride unless declared medically fit by a physician. They are then initially taught basic riding skills, horse care and grooming, and riding etiquette. These skills are taught by an outstanding staff chosen for their ability to combine horsemanship training with experiential therapy. All horse handlers are experienced riders and our therapists are specifically trained in equine therapy. While working with the horses, safety is never compromised and our students are never forced to do something against their will.

Equine therapy is generally done at least once monthly, alternating with regular weekly recreational therapy that includes high and low ropes course work.



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