Ever think of looking into therapeutic horseback riding for your ASD teen? This could be a great option that helps develop independence and provide motivation for language and socialization. My son Ian has been riding horses for nine years and he loves it!
Every Wednesday during the Spring and Fall months, Ian and his classmates at the Brooklyn Autism Center go to Kensington Stables in Prospect Park Brooklyn, where they groom, pet and ride horses. Ian’s horse is named “Fudge” a gentle brown therapy horse. Ian and Fudge have forged an amazing connection and Ian is so happy to be around him. When Ian first started riding, I was skeptical. He was afraid of cats and dogs and I couldn’t see him riding a horse. I was amazed when Ian walked up to Fudge, put his hand on his muzzle and swung up into the saddle! When Ian began going for weekly lessons, he was only able to sit in the saddle and walk around the corral with volunteers on each side of him. Over the years his confidence has grown and he not only rides independently but can trot and canter!
Because of Ian’s horseback riding skill, our family has begun a tradition of doing a trail ride each Christmas in Malibu canyon. During these rides, Ian is the best rider in our group and rides completely independently, often several horses away from us, his parents. These yearly trail rides are a way for our family to be together where Ian is the expert and we are supporting him. As parents, it is an amazing feeling to see our son so happy and confident doing something he so clearly loves!