Working on horseback - Hippotherapy

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Working on Horseback

The activity involves acquiring horsemanship skills for guiding and managing the horse and lasts around 35 minutes.

The aim of this phase is to learn to control, guide and lead the horse according to set programmes at the various gaits, which represents the sports part of the programme.

In particular, students, in a group or by themselves based on their needs, mount the horse and starts the sports activity with:

- exercises on the horse to acquire balance, ability, flexibility and develop muscle tone and coordination;
- guide the horse with the use of reins and their legs to give start and stop commands to the horse
- walking work phase with the performance of manège figures, with the coordinated use of reins and legs; the manège figures are performed using materials such as coloured skittles, wooden barriers, letters and drawings, numbers and small objects for communication purposes
- (possible) trot and gallop work phase with the use of small jumps.

In this activity students learn to guide the horse, and relate their bodies to that of the horse, acquiring awareness and ability to use their bodies in a suitable manner and with a well-defined aim.

In some cases, the possibility is considered of letting students work on the horse without a saddle, using a wide band with pommel and felt on the back of the horse, where the students are mounted. This stimulates contact with the horse thanks to the numerous stimuli from movement of the horse while walking.