The Benefits of Horseback Riding for Children

As an HSS pediatric speech language pathologist, I’m dedicated to adapting my approach to meet the needs of each child. Sometimes that means thinking outside of the box and bringing the treatment into non-traditional venues and treating without borders. Therefore, we have encouraged our patients to participate in our adaptive sports program.

For the second consecutive year, we brought a group of HSS pediatric patients to Endeavor Therapeutic Horsemanship through the Adaptive Sports Academy at The Lerner Children’s Pavilion. Participants took part in horse education and got the chance to ride with the horses in a safe and supportive environment. Once considered too challenging for children with disabilities to participate in, horseback riding actually provides a wide range of benefits for cognitive, psychosocial, social, educational and physical function. Riding promotes the development of these independent yet interconnected systems and fosters personal growth, allowing a patient to achieve their maximum potential.

As my focus as a speech pathologist, I recognize the value of horseback riding and its impact on a child’s speech and language development. The postural system, also known as our core, is the foundation for the 5 speech subsystems responsible for the production of intelligible speech. These systems include: respiration, phonation, articulation, resonance and prosody. Horseback riding places a child in the proper alignment, allowing for critical core muscle activation. Ultimately this results in the child’s ability to support the production of words, phrases, and connected speech.

I am excited to lead this endeavor for the second time and be a part of another memorable experience. It’s truly a gift to facilitate the children’s progress towards their maximum communication potential. Improved mobility gets us in the game, but it’s communication that keeps us in the game of life.

Elizabeth Gerosa is an American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) certified Speech Language Pathologist. She is PROMPT trained and has a strong background in pediatric dysphagia for the patient who is medically compromised. Elizabeth is experienced with Applied Behavior Approach (ABA) with children with Autism and the Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) approach to feeding. She is Neuro-Development Treatment (NDT) Certified for the management of neuromotor disorders.

The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.

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