A thought I have and wonder what you

Avatar for cl_ntajd
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
A thought I have and wonder what you
Fri, 10-03-2003 - 1:01pm

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Fri, 10-03-2003 - 10:45pm
Hi Tasha,

We were thinking the same thing for our little guy who is 5 and also AS & tactile defensive. We took him to a fair where he got to ride a pony and the look of sheer joy on his face was priceless. I'm looking for similar feedback myself.




iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 10-04-2003 - 1:12am

We have been involved in it for almost 2 years and love it.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-25-2003
Sat, 10-04-2003 - 11:26am

Horses can have an almost magical impact on some kids.

Before I lost my job and became poor, I took my DS to a stables because I was going to sign him up for lessons. I couldn't get him to leave! He stayed there for hours, just talking to all the horses (a kid who hardly talks).

I think it's a good idea to expose your DS to horses and the environment first (most schools will let you do this) and see how he tolerates the environment and how interested he seems in the animals. Also, letting him try a ride at a fair or something would be a good idea, if he is willing to try.

Try and find a school which specialises in kids with disabilities. They may want you to pay for a PT to eveluate your child first, for insurance reasons. If there are any areas of weakness that you would like him to work on, the PT may be able to assist you in this so it's not a total writeoff.

Good luck and if you try it, let us know how it goes.



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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 10-04-2003 - 12:35pm

Theraputic horsebackriding is designed specifically for kids with disabilities.

Avatar for littleroses
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Sat, 10-04-2003 - 4:24pm
A number of posts ago, someone said that horses make great autistics. Then I came across this article on the internet making comparisons. Not knowing one thing about horses myself, I will just take it for what it says.

Similarities Between Horses and Autistics

I. Stress behaviors

A. Autistic: rocking. Horse: weaving, circling

B. Autistic: perseverations, stims. Horse: cribbing, windsucking

C. Autistic: head banging, rubbing, punching. Horse: stall

kicking, tail rubbing (not caused by parasites, flies, etc.).

D. Autistics: Tourettes-like tics. Horses: tic-like head

tossing, stamping, tic-like biting at self.

II. Number of clues needed before reacting (or "living in a constant state

of fear").

A. Prey animals (horses/cows) must respond to a single clue if

they are to survive.

B. Waiting for a set of clues in the wild would not be conducive

to survival.

C. Predators need a series of clues to be able to 'plan' their

means of survival.

D. Baby's brains start off responding to a single clue, but in

humans (and predators) the brain matures into needing a

complex set of clues to react.

E. Autistic brains do not mature into needing a complex set of

clues to react, but continue to rely on a single, or limited

set of clues.

III. Hyper and Hypo Sensitivity

A. Autistic: hypersensitivity to certain types of clothing

material, tags in clothing, etc.; being touched lightly.

Horses: skin flinching when insects land on them; being

touched lightly.

B. Autistic: hyposensitivity to painful injuries. Horses: not

reacting to rider's leg pressure, kicks or even the crop.

IV. Withdrawal

A. Autistic: seeming to be in another world; allowing hands,

arms, legs to be positioned without seeming to notice.

Horses: appearing to be dozing although their eyes are open;

allowing their feet to be picked up and/or their legs to be

moved without seeming to notice.

B. Autistic: allowing themselves to be led while in the

withdrawal state.

Horses: allowing themselves to be led while in the

dozing-with-eyes-open state.

V. Sensory Overload and Shutdown

A. Autistic: becoming frozen in place when the senses become

overloaded and shutdown. Horses: becoming frozen in place

when the senses become overloaded and shutdown, as when being

forced to enter a trailer or other situation which causes

extreme fear.

VI. Social Relations

A. Autistics: do not become attached to other people in a normal


Horses: even though a herd animal and most comfortable when

part of a herd, horses graze apart from each other, stand

apart from each other while resting and engage in a limited

amount of touching/grooming of each other.

B. Autistic: become stressed in crowds and even small groups

which are too close together. Horses: become stressed when

the herd or even a small group are put in an encloser that

doesn't allow their normal 'personal space' zone.

VII Trot/Jog

A. Autistic: many low functioning autistics (and other

developmentally disabled people) have a posture when moving

where the arms are drawn up so that the elbows point forward,

the wrists are cocked at a downward angle, and the back is

arched so that the butt sticks out.

B. This looks similar to the horses trot - see enclosed picture

of a horse at the trot.

C. The person moves his/her arms and legs in the same order as

the horses'four legs at the trot/jog.

D. Examples of this can be seen on tapes of Special Olympics

track races.

VIII Canter/Lope

A. Autistic: many low functioning autistics (and other

developmetally disabled people) run one-sided, or on a


B. Horses: canter/lope while on a left or right 'lead'.

C. The person moves his/her arms and legs in the same order as

the horses' four legs at the canter/lope.

D. There may be examples of this type of running on tapes of

Special Olympic track races. I didn't see this type of

running on the tapes I saw, but observed this at a Special

Olympics event I attended.

IX. Ears (Vestibular Stimulation)

A. Autistic: vestibular stimulation in the form or spinning,

deep pressure, etc. can be used to calm the person.

B. Horse: gently pulling and/or moving the ears in a circular

motion can be used to give relief to a horse having a mild

colic. It can also be used to calm a horse which is becoming


X. Not aware of body parts/Sensory Integration

A. Autistic: those who do not seem to be aware of where their

body is in relation to their surroundings benefit from

sensory intergration.

B. Horses: Linda Tellington-Jones speaks about horses not being

aware of where their bodies are in relation to their

surroundings and her techniques closely resemble sensory


XI. B Vitamins

A. Autistic: some people seem to become calmer and have fewer

autistic behaviors when taking B vitamins.

B. In 7 out of 13 over the-counter calmative products available

for horses (last year) Thiamine (B-1) and/or 'B-vitamin

complex' was the major or only ingredient. While

veterinarians remain skeptical about their usefulness, many

horse owners swear that they work for their horses.

XII. Gluten

A. Autistic: some autistics seem to have fewer autistic

behaviors when put on a gluten-free diet.

B. Horses: hot-blooded horses such as Thoroughbreds and

Arabians used for racing, and other high energy sports, are

fed larger amounts of grain, and an anecdotal connection has

been made for years between that and an increase in negative

behaviors in some of these horses.


I. Anosognosia

A. Anosognosia seen in right-sided stroke patients results in

the patient not recognizeing parts of their body as

belonging to them or have any feeling in that limb.

They are often offended by the limb that they don't

recognize as their own; one man tried to throw his own leg

off the bed because he said it was not his.

B. Pouring cold water into the left ear of these patients

stimulated the vestibular system and reawkened the 'anomaly

detector', allowing the patient to recognize the limb as

belonging to them.

C. Could the same type of thing be going on with the extremely

self-injurious autistic? Do they suffer recurring bouts of


D. If this is what is happening could pouring cold water into

the left ear be a more humane way of stopping this behavior

than the electric shock devices that are used at BRI?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 10-07-2003 - 1:39pm
Thank you, that was quite incredible!