Horse therapy and animal based activities provide a means of escape from everyday challenges and because animals are not verbal – relationships can be built up without a sense of fear or rejection.
A cornerstone of Horizon Farm’s philosophy has always been therapeutic horse riding. It has been proven over thousands of years that animals and people with intellectual or physical challenges have a deep affinity and that continued exposure of the two together has long lasting and amazing benefits for those so challenged.
The psychosocial benefits – self-concept, self-confidence, self-esteem, motivation, attention span, special awareness, listening skills and verbal skills have become better understood over the past few decades with horse therapy, which is now a world wide phenomenon.
The success of using a horse as a therapeutic modality is based on shared activity, with physical communication which is both ordered and rhythmic. The exercise that is generated reaches muscles which are not always easily accessible in conventional therapy. It is a movement therapy that cannot be simulated through a mechanical device and which naturally results in physical benefits.
The residents look forward to their horse riding on a weekly basis.
Horizon Farm has formed a working relationship with the South African Riding for the Disabled Association (SARDA) and with their professional guidance and on-site assistance we have progressed greatly. The programme includes the guidance of a qualified occupational therapist which has upgraded the programme to what is known as hippotherapy which means “treatment with the help of the horse” (of Greek origin). We currently operate this service in conjunction with the experienced Giba Gorge Horse Trails team, and being adjacent to the farm, this countryside walk for the residents to the horse stables is therapy within itself.
Formal outrides and on-premises riding with the horses on lead-reins are taken 2 or 3 times a week and any of our beneficiaries can choose to ride or lead one of the horses to the nearby Giba Gorge Park.
A comment from one of our resident’s parents: “Had we not involved our son in the horse programme 3 years ago, we believe that he would now be in a wheelchair. The body-core strength gained by my son has been amazing since he joined the programme – thank you, Horizon Farm”.