Hippotherapy promotes the activity of the cognitive sphere of the psyche of students
The need for constant concentration of attention when riding, concentration, the maximum possible concentration and self-organization, the need to remember and plan the sequence of actions, both when riding and when caring for an animal activates mental processes. There is a development of auditory-motor and visual-motor coordination of students. In combination with the strong motivation of riders in the process of learning riding skills and the process of riding in General, the situation that occurs when riding indicates that hippotherapy can and should be used as a method of psychological rehabilitation, as a method of psychotherapy and psycho-correction.
The similarity of hippotherapy with other types of exercise therapy is that hippotherapy is a treatment of horse movement. The fundamental difference between hippotherapy and other methods of rehabilitation is the complexity of the impact of hypotherapy on the physical and mental sphere of the participants. The complex effect of hippotherapy should be understood as a simultaneous rehabilitation effect on the physical and mental health of clients. The main difference between hippotherapy and other technologies is that it has physiotherapy capabilities, since the temperature of the horse is 1-1. 5 degrees higher than the human body. It is also possible to note the simultaneous rendering of training and weakening effects on the muscles of the student through three-dimensional vibrations of the horse’s back. When a person comes to hippotherapy classes, he sees before him not people in white coats, but a playpen, a horse and an instructor. The rehabilitation process is perceived by the rider as a process of learning riding skills. During this process, riders overcome their mental and physical difficulties, thanks to the great motivation that is formed when learning to ride.
A distinctive feature of hippotherapy is the subject-subject approach in the relationship between the instructor, the client and the horse. The hippotherapist affects the rider, the rider affects the horse, and the horse affects the rider and the instructor. This approach makes it possible to implement the client’s activity in solving their problems and turns them from an object of influence to a subject, which is an important factor for the social, psychological and physical rehabilitation of the client.
Criteria for the effectiveness of hippotherapy as an innovative technology of social work with people with disabilities can be divided into two groups: medical and social.
The medical criteria are:
a) there is a strengthening and training of the muscles of the patient’s body, and the peculiarity of the effect is that there is simultaneously training of weak muscles and relaxation of spastic ones.
b) there is a strengthening of the balance. This effect is achieved due to the fact that during therapeutic riding (LVE) there is a constant need for the rider to maintain balance throughout the entire session without interruptions for any moment.
C) improved coordination of movements and spatial orientation. This happens because during training there is a constant need to Orient the rider in the arena space.
d) improves the psycho-emotional state of students, increases the level of self-esteem of the individual. This result is achieved due to the fact that during LVE classes, a person begins to feel not sick and weak, as he feels in ordinary life, but a rider who controls a large, strong and graceful animal that obeys and executes his commands.
e) when riding, they do not use any devices that link them to their disability. They use the same thing as regular riders. Success in mastering the skills of riding and the art of managing a horse increases, like nothing else, the self-esteem of the individual and gives sick people confidence in their abilities, self-confidence. It is necessary to note the ethical aspect of the impact of hippotherapy on both disabled people and their parents. Parents see their crippled child in a different way – on a beautiful graceful animal, which causes them to associate beautiful centaurs. They are happy to take photos and proudly show photos of their children. It is also impossible not to take into account that in our time of technical and chemical means of existence of disabled people, there is an opportunity to communicate with nature, an environmentally friendly animal. Therapeutic riding gives the rehabilitated a full sense of movement of the body in space, makes it possible to feel the work of their muscles.
It is proved that the horse can act as an intermediary between the patient with autism and the surrounding reality. This is due to the fact that the interaction with the horse takes place on a non-verbal level, which allows the patient to stay inside his comfortable world and at the same time get out of the state of isolation from the surrounding reality, adapt to it.
Social criteria include:
a) improve the communication functions of students. This result is achieved due to the fact that during training, riders communicate and act together with hippotherapists and horse breeders and with each other.
b) conducting equestrian competitions among people with special needs helps to increase the level of self-esteem of clients themselves, their capabilities and their potential. Holding competitions also contributes to changing the attitude of society towards people with disabilities. When people see a rider on a horse, they see him as a rider, not a person with problems. Seeing that people with disabilities can engage in such a complex sport as equestrian, normal people begin to understand that people with disabilities are just like them, they can do the same as everyone else, but even more, because not every healthy person can ride.
C) by improving the physical, psychological and emotional state, hippotherapy improves the effectiveness and quality of the process of socialization of the rehabilitated person.
d) through joint activities, hippotherapy promotes the integration of disabled people into society, expands their horizons of opportunities, helping to overcome barriers to disability.
e) by means of hippotherapy classes there is a development of labor skills in animal care. For some people with disabilities, especially those with mental retardation, this is due to the fact that people with mental retardation can successfully perform stable work under control and this work can become a profession for them, which will support them in their future independent life and serve as a means of their integration into society, which is the main task of rehabilitation.
Hippotherapy differs from physical therapy in that it can cause a strong multidirectional motivation in the student. On the one hand, the child is afraid of a big obstinate animal, he is not sure of himself, and on the other hand – he feels a desire to ride, learn to control a horse. This desire helps him overcome fear and increase self-esteem. The duration of sessions varies depending on the disease, physical fitness of the child. The lessons are attended by a horse breeder, an instructor and one or two insurers, if the severity of the disease requires special precautions. Nevertheless, the rider must manage the animal independently, so that the process of overcoming their own complexes and fears goes on. The instructor sets various exercises in which physical strength, ingenuity, and imagination should be used. The load is given purposefully, for example, by tightening or loosening the stirrups.