Cognitive Development

Benefits of Riding
Bright Horizons Therapeutic Riding Center, Siletz, Oregon

Aural, Visual and Kinesthetic Learners

Each of us tends to have a predominate learning modality. Some of us learn best by hearing (aural learners). Others by seeing (visual learners). And others by actually doing or moving (kinesthetic learners).

Working with a horse in a structured environment provides riders with the chance to learn and expand their horizons, not only in their predominate learning mode, but in their less dominate modes as well. Horses provide movement, instructors provide visual as well as aural cues... and the end result is that a rider's cognitive skills are further developed.

How Equine-assisted Therapy Programs Can Help

Structured riding programs have been shown to foster the following in riders of all skill levels and abilities:
  • Improved listening skills
  • Improved ability to follow instructions
  • Better anticipatory responses
  • Better understanding of cause and effect
  • Improved task sequencing
  • Increased awareness of all five senses
  • Improved judgment and reasoning
  • Improved risk assessment ability
Improved task sequencing
Improved task sequencing

Examples of Riding-generated Stimulus and Response

For some riders this may be as simple as touching a mane and then recognizing that they are in contact with something very different from their usual surroundings. For others, figuring out what triggers a horse to start, stop and otherwise move in a controlled manner helps to develop a whole host of "learning-thinking-doing" skills. And for those riders that are not cognitively challenged, mastering advanced horsemanship skills brings all the benefits that occur when a particular set of skills is refined and improved.
Increased awareness of all five senses
Increased awareness of all five senses


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