Mind and Body Therapy… on Horses!!

12 year-old Peter Gonzales and "Sage" at Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center in Santa Barbara, CA

There’s nothing like horseback riding. The physical movement and relationship between rider and horse can’t be replicated artificially, and the benefit to people with special needs is incalculable. Riders at the non-profit Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center in Santa Barbara, CA range in age from 3 to 95, they have a wide range of physical and mental handicaps, and the time they spend riding horses has greatly improved the quality of their lives and enriched their spirit. Not only does the simple act of riding a moving horse use muscles most of us take for granted and help with balance and focus, riders with learning disorders and developmental conditions like autism have experienced virtual “awakenings” through the relationship they develop with their horses.

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