15 November, 2023

Real benefits of horsing around

The addition of Equine-Focused Therapy to the range of services at Mt Archer Allied Health Clinic has been very rewarding, according to the clinic’s owner Lynda Schultz.

By Liam Hauser

Mt Archer’s Equine-Focused Therapy.
Mt Archer’s Equine-Focused Therapy.

A remedial massage therapist and a qualified Allied Health Assistant, Lynda said Equine-Focused Therapy was designed to improve the quality of life for people with physical, developmental and learning difficulties.

In addition to her usual therapy, Lynda broadened her horizons as she undertook an online rider training program titled ‘Applied Posture Riding’, which was designed by a physiotherapist.

When clients were in the paddock with the animals, the clients were safely exposed to a range of activities and challenges designed to improve coordination, muscular strength, problem-solving skills, balance and fi ne motor skills.

While the Equine-Focused Therapy can involve animals such as dogs, cats and chooks, Lynda has found that the most prominent animal is Torby the pony.

Lynda said with the use of a sulky cart, patients learned to steer, push and manoeuvre around bending poles, and move equipment and manipulate elements in their environment.

The clients help prepare the pony as well as interact with it on foot through races and games. Lynda’s clients have included children with special needs, and an adult who suffered physical and mental injuries from a showjumping accident.

If the client has a selfmanaged NDIS plan, it may be funded by the NDIS.

“The lady is now walking without a walking stick as she has been able to strengthen her core, which improved her pain management, along with improving her mental health,” Lynda said.

As for one of the youngsters, Lynda said he benefited from so-called “play-based therapy” as the pony made all the difference.

“He can run 150m without falling,” Lynda said of the youngster.

“When he first came, he couldn’t walk two metres without falling.”


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