Annesta Hofer, Social Worker and Registered Behavioural Therapist in Private Practice, is proving that riding horses addresses several key symptoms affiliated with Autism ADHD and Behavioural Problems.
Interaction with animals improves communication and social skills, assists with lowered sensory skills, improve motor skills and enhance response to verbal cues and external stimuli.
Riding horses is much more than just a physical experience. While the movement of the horse is great for improving circulation, muscle control, and coordination, there is also a very profound bond that riders develop with their mounts. Horses are companion animals. They look to their riders for direction and love. They are attuned to the smallest movement, attitude, and emotion; a rider cannot hide anything from a horse. Horses can tell if you are angry, nervous, happy, excited, tense, or relaxed and they respond accordingly. They aren’t demanding. They want to understand you and for you to understand them. Because of the love and trust they give, their fine-tuned responses, and desire to please, they are extremely effective in creating a bond with autistic riders that encourages communication and interaction.
Autistic and ADHD riders learn to communicate verbally and physically with their horse, and they can see the immediate result of their communication when the horse reacts. They learn to focus on something outside themselves, an important step for autistic people. They also learn to communicate and interact with other people as they work with instructors and volunteers who are leading the horse or walking beside them. They learn to respond to verbal cues from the instructor as they complete specific tasks. Plus, riding horses is good exercise and a whole lot of fun. Most importantly, kids and adults with autism learn to connect with horses, building a trusting relationship that is fun, rewarding, and life-changing.
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Annesta Hofer Counselling Services provides professional therapy and tailored made counseling programmes with the aim of enhancing behavioral modification and emotional healing.
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Post Traumatic Stress, Grief, Depression, Addiction and any Emotional struggle remain the focus of my practice, yet I believe in combining animal and nature therapy with cognitive behavioral therapy in order to deal with difficult issues in a more meaningful and joyful manner.
Behavioural Therapist/ Clinical Social Worker
BSW Honours (Social Work and Psychology)