No, this isn’t a post about horses who have ADHD. It’s a post about how horses can help a person with ADHD.
Maybe you’ve heard of horse therapy or Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) before. It’s often used with children who are physically handicapped, and it’s been clinically proven to work.
Did you know, though, that horses can also help kids who have ADHD?
According to Franklin Levinson, who developed the idea of using EFL to help children with emotional or communication challenges, “It’s been clinically proven that just being in the vicinity of horses changes our brainwave patterns. They have a calming effect which helps stop people becoming fixated on past or negative events – giving them a really positive experience”.
EFL helps kids with ADHD learn to communicate, interact with others, and carry out instructions. And because horses are extremely sensitive and can pick up on a person’s demeanor, they can naturally help the person working with them to calm down and focus.
“Horses react as a mirror to the person who’s with him” says Franklin. “He’s a prey animal so he wants to feel safe and is always on the lookout for predators. A horse will become very fearful if he’s with someone who’s aggressive, noisy, disrespectful or too controlling. On the other hand, if the person makes requests rather than demands the horse will begin to cooperate. He is always looking for a leader.”
Learning to work with the horse, including such tasks as grooming, can help a child increase their attention span, learn leadership and communication skills, and feel good about themselves.
We have an abundance of stables near my house, but even when we lived in the suburbs, there were a few not far away. You might want to look into this for your child. I bet they would love it.
For more about EFL and Franklin Levinson, go here.