The therapeutic benefits that animals hold for people, especially the disabled, are increasingly recognised over the world.
PE has its own particular brand of animal therapy which is offered by the Riding for the Disabled in Charlo. Riding for the Disabled was established in 1974 by Helen Sunde, Enid Lovemore and the late Amber Ogden. It was originally known as the Progress Riding School and joined forces with the SA Riding for the Disabled Association to offer children and adults with both mental and physical disabilities the opportunity to experience the therapeutic effects and pleasure of riding horses.
Riding for the Disabled promotes social integration and has a positive psychological effect. In addition it also assists in improving balance, stamina, co-ordination and concentration. The programme is designed in consultation with physiotherapists and includes the use of games and co-ordination exercises.
The association especially selects horses with calm and gentle temperament for their programme. The bond that a disabled person develops with the horse stimulates confidence and the capability to trust. The therapy of riding helps to exercise muscles that they don’t usually get a chance to use. The classes take place, weather permitting, on the first three Saturday mornings of each month and every Tuesday afternoon during school terms.
The association is in need of a shelter for the children to sit in whilst they wait to ride. A small donation is asked from each person who participates in the ride. This donation helps towards paying expenses such as veterinarian fees and feeding of the horses. For more information contact Dianna Winfield 041 367 2972 or Gwyn Gray 041 367 3268.
Horse Therapy for Deaf Children
By: Janet Pereira