Brain Injury and Horse Therapy: Is there a strong link?

Brain injury can be very damaging and is believed to be one of the major causes of disability and deaths in the United States. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is estimated that traumatic brain injury (TBI) claims 155 lives every day. Survivors of traumatic brain injury could either experience symptoms that could last for a few days but for some, it could last them a lifetime.

Thankfully, for these survivors, there are facilities for horseback riding Virginia Beach that provide equine-assisted therapy that provides support to them and help improve their quality of lives.

What is traumatic brain injury?

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is caused by an external force such as a bump, jolt, or blow to the head that results in a diminished or altered state of consciousness. The impacts of TBI vary from the degree of damage that it may cause to brain tissues and lead to the impairment of cognitive abilities and physical functions.

Its cognitive effects include lack of focus, loss of concentration, short and long term memory loss, and spatial disorientation. It can also lead to problems such as seizures, muscles spasms, vision impairment, loss of hearing, loss of taste, speech problems, headaches, and reduced endurance, just to name a few. 

It can also cause psychosocial and behavioral problems such as depression, anxiety, mood swings, sexual difficulties, agitation, and unstable emotions, among many others.

Where horse therapy comes in

Numerous studies have linked equine-assisted therapy (EAT) where therapeutic horse riding such as those provided by equestrian therapy near me has shown dramatic results in supporting the treatment of TBI survivors. 

How is it effective? The problems that are addressed by therapeutic riding are those that occur after the TBI incident which is improved through the use of the therapy horse. Therapy horses provide consistent, strong motivation, and multisensory input that helps the rider’s brain organize and improve itself.

A carefully planned and properly executed riding program does not only provide recovery from TBI but also provides a unique source of risk, pleasure, self-esteem and pleasure to the patient. The bonding relationship between the rider and the horse can also be a stabilizing and positive experience that could greatly help in improving a patient’s quality of life.

What makes EAT work?

The health and therapeutic effects of EAT is more factual than it is anecdotal. One of the major reasons is that horses provide an emotional mirror to humans because they closely resemble man’s human emotions and feelings that make them very helpful in treating and healing people dealing with behavioral and psychological issues.

However, it is not for everybody and each facility providing horseback riding Virginia Beach offer programs that can focus on any of a number of EAT approaches and techniques.

The best thing to do is to consult first with a professional therapist to find out which therapeutic riding programs can be suited or customized for each individual case.