Who benefits from the Bridges programs?

We want to help families and the community to respond and meet the needs of children and youth with behavior challenges including but not limited to the spectrum of disabilities known as Pervasive Developmental Disorder. Children identified as emotionally disturbed, at risk for academic failure, or come from abused or neglected situations can benefit from equine facilitated education.

No previous horse experience is necessary. We take the strengths of the individual and pursue the areas of need through the unique relationship a horse has to offer. Through this relationship, we are able to enhance:

  • Improved on-task behavior
  • Improved attention skills allows for improved skill and tasks sequencing
  • Increased social interaction
  • Development of joint attention behaviors
  • Increased physical activity and sensory input promoting increased concentration
  • Overall improvement of learning and confidence
  • Confidence and Empowerment!

How does a horse help?

Many theories exist about the benefits of a horse; however, research proves that simply petting a horse causes our brain waves to calm. It is a sensory experience unlike any other.

-Improving gross and fine motor skills

-Experiencing the 3-dimensional movement of the horse which is similar to the normal human walking gait

-Stimulating the cardiovascular and nervous system

-Building self-esteem and confidence

-Developing a meaningful relationship with the volunteers and staff

-Building a strong bond with the horse

-Channeling aggressive or hyperactive behavior into constructive activity

-Increasing ability to follow directions

– Improving memory utilization

– Developing sequencing abilities

-Improved perception

-Teaches empathy and promotes overall emotional health and so much more

Natural horse behavior and the way horses interact with their surroundings opens up an infinite amount of parallels to the daily life or struggles that people may go through. The horse gives an unbiased opinion that with facilitation, the client can directly relate to.  It is often easier for a person struggling with social skill development to learn those skills through the interactions with the horse than it may be with other humans.

Why Natural Horsemanship?

Horses are social animals—they live by rules of social order with defined rules and roles within the herd. In order to survive, it needs a leader.
Natural horsemanship is a philosophy of training people that focuses on building a positive experience with the horse through partnership rather than fear and intimidation. It uses the principles of natural herd communication and equine behavior to position the person as a leader.
Utilizing these natural herd dynamics, the horse can help a person become aware of how his or her behavior is effecting the environment. Through the process of reflection and replay, combined with a classroom experience that promotes social skills and communication the individual learns to engage with others. The horse honestly reflects the individuals’ behavior, which helps the person learn to modulate his or her behavior.

How can you help?

Equestrian Bridges is an Arkansas Non-Profit 501(c) 3 corporation. Funding is acquired through grants, private donations, and sponsorships. Currently, fees for all services are on a sliding scale, however, our strongest hope is to be able to provide services free of charge. Don’t hesitate to ask us about sponsoring a therapy horse or child. Equestrian Bridges programs rely on the donation of time as well. To become a volunteer please e-mail equestrianbridgestherapy@gmail.com. We highly value the time our volunteers give to us and our programs would not be possible without your help. We THANK YOU.