Recovery Docs Mount Equine Campaign

Physical therapists say riding works muscles, triggers psychological benefits
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 18, 2007 8:11 AM CDT
Autistic Boy with Cerebral Palsy Undergoes Horse Therapy   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Physical therapists are increasingly turning to horses to help patients with serious injuries, cerebral palsy, muscle disorders and developmental delays.  The complex act of maintaining balance on a moving horse bolsters damaged or underdeveloped muscle groups and can have psychological benefits. Horses' movements mimic a human gait, making the method more effective than some more traditional ones.

"The horse is custom-made to give rhythmical dynamic input" to muscles, said one therapists.  Horses also add the advantage of height, mobility and power to people often confined to wheelchair. Children can also "sense another creature's energy and love," said one doctor.