Dressage Gives Alex Wings
Learning dressage helps one rider with autism and cerebral palsy establish success and confidence in all aspects of his life.
The blisters from riding boots; the demanding balance between classic position and flexibility; the fiendish subtle cues and the brain-tease of executing precise patterns: dressage.
Alexander James Ham-Kucharski stews over the same challenges that we all face when tackling the exacting artistry of dressage. “Alex” is a 20-year-old college guy. He arranges his class schedule around his dressage lessons. He competes, too. Alex has autism, cerebral palsy and refuses to surrender to the effects of a stroke... Read the full story
Therapy Horses Gone Wild
A unique nature-exposure therapy program uses wild horses to help adults with autism.
Approaching a herd of wild horses in a field may not be a typical therapy activity, but it’s a regular occurrence at the Eye of a Horse program in St. Cloud, Florida, where wild Florida Cracker Horses play a key role in helping adults with autism practice their social skills and gain confidence.
The CDC estimates that 1 in 68 children have the developmental disability—formally known as autism spectrum disorder—which is often characterized by challenges with social skills, communication, and repetitive behaviors, as well as giftedness in other areas. Although there are many resources available to children with autism, most end once the child turns 18. That’s where Eye of a Horse comes in... Read the full story
Therapeutic Riding Reduces Stress Levels in Young Adults with Autism
Therapeutic riding has been proven to help reduce stress in young adults (ages 14-25) with autism spectrum disorder, according to recent research funded by the Horses and Humans Research Foundation.
Those with autism who are transitioning into adulthood face stress daily, and the symptoms of autism become barriers to health and wellness. There has been little previous research into this age group as it relates to therapeutic riding... Read the full story
Where Work is Play
Children with autism and second-chance horses make magic together at the Square Peg Foundation in California.
It’s a quiet Saturday afternoon at the Square Peg ranch and the outdoor arena is empty but for a horse, a boy and a riding instructor. Two goats, Wasabi and Molly, wander in, trailed by an old hound dog named Thair who plops himself down in the middle of the ring for an impromptu nap... Read the full story
Journey of Hope 4 Autism
Journey of Hope has kids riding high in the saddle.
There’s not much a grandmother won’t do for her grandson. Just ask Victoria Bryant why she started a non-profit that brings equine-assisted services to children with autism.
“My grandson is my inspiration,” she says, explaining that after he was diagnosed with autism, she began working with him on horses. After seeing the change it made in his life, Victoria felt called to offer the same help to other children, and soon, Journey of Hope 4 Autism was born. Situated in rural Virginia, Journey of Hope provides a safe space for children with autism to learn and grow... Read the full story
Riding Bareback and Blind The Horse That Made it Possible
Calm, collected, reliable, and trustworthy no matter what the circumstance.
These are the words we hear over and over again when describing Moe. Why does a calm and reliable horse matter for a rider? Francisco’s story illustrates what can happen when we face our challenges with a guide like Moe.
Francisco is 14 years old, diagnosed with autism and blindness. Autism is often accompanied by sensory sensitivities. Try to imagine accomplishing daily activities without being able to engage one of your five senses in addition to having challenges with sensory processing. Imagine how scary and frustrating that might be... Read the full story
Can Horses Help Children with Autism?
A therapeutic riding study shows after participating in a therapeutic riding program, children with autism spectrum disorder showed significant improvements in many areas.
Can horses help children with autism? Some popular accounts have described remarkable, almost miraculous effects, but there hasn’t been much research. Now a new study—a four-year randomized, controlled trial involving a substantial number of children with autism—provides solid evidence that therapeutic riding can provide specific benefits... Read the full story
The Animals of Mandy's Farm
At Mandy’s Farm, animals help individuals with developmental disabilities shine.
Mandy’s Farm was the first residential program in the United States designed with an emphasis on adult autism. From its inception in 2000, animals were a key component. At the Farm, individuals with developmental disabilities live and work alongside goats, chickens, alpacas, guinea hens, turkeys, cats, dogs and horses... Read the full story
Arizona's Reeves Family is Changing Lives Through Roping and Ranching
Douglas, Arizona’s Reeves family has found purpose helping others find their own.
Fourteen-year-old Everett Reeves is taking his time in the house while his brother, 16-year-old Quincy, and father, Kenny, saddle horses for their evening practice session. Randy, who rarely misses a practice at the Reeves home arena, hollers at Everett to hurry as he walks out the door... Read the full story