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Presenter: Good afternoon everybody and welcome to our weekly program ‘Amazing Animals.’ This week the focus of our attention is horses, and today in our studio we have Diane Smith, and expert in horse therapy. Hello Diane.
Diane: Hello everybody. It’s great being here.
Presenter: Everybody knows that horses were domesticated thousands of years ago, and still perform some important functions in agriculture and sport. How can horses be used for therapy? Or, should my first question be – Why?
Diane: Well, historically, horses have long been used for therapy. This kind of therapy is called hippotherapy, by the way. The main reason people do it now is because it can be an effective way to help neurological and physical functions. Horse therapy has been known to help people with not only cerebral pausy, but also intellectual disabilities, language disorders and sensory processing disorders. For children, in particular, it is an excellent form of treatment.
Presenter: Is it more effective than traditional therapy?
Diane: In most cases, it’s more effective for children. With kids, it has been known to have much greater benefits than traditional therapy in a clinical setting. This is because of the constant rhythmic movement and the warm atmosphere that a clinical setting cannot bring a child.
Presenter: Can you be more specific about how horse therapy works?
Diane: As I probably mentioned earlier, hippotherapy works wonders because of how the riders must adjust themselves while on the animal. After a couple of sessions, the user gains strength and body control from the constant movement and action by working their muscles to maintain balance on the horse. The repetitive motion increases gross motor and fine motor skills. For speech therapy, riding the horse helps the user control their breathing and strengthens muscles in their neck. The unique therapy treatment can help in a wide variety of ways.
Presenter: Am I right that it’s enough simply to ride a horse for horse therapy?
Diane: I don’t think so. Horse therapy should not be looked at as simply just riding a horse because there are lots of different activities the therapist will conduct to help the patient improve on their skill set. A therapist might place different images with words or animals on them around the arena. Then the patient will have to locate them while corresponding by saying the correct word or animal sound for each object. The therapist might also do an activity where the patient has to toss hoops to land on various cones. This will aid in the promotion of better focus and attention, while working their muscles found in the arms, neck and torso.
Presenter: What is the first session of the therapy like?
Diane: Well, the therapist will first assess the patient and see what program will work best for him or her. They will determine the proper course of action for the treatment plan based on the patient’s physical, cognitive, and psychological abilities. If you have never been around a horse, or even ridden one before, there’s no need to worry. The horses are specifically trained for riders with disabilities, which enables them to be easier to handle and gentler to ride. Additionally, the places that host the therapy will have platforms for wheelchair users, and specifically designed saddles for those who need special support. It’s important to mention that ordinary people who just fight stress and depression can also address this form of therapy and will get good results as well.
Presenter: That’s very interesting, Diana.
3. The first question of the presenter is about …
3) the reason horses are used in therapy.
4. According to Diane, hippotherapy is used for …
2) treating neurological problems.
5. According to Diane, hippotherapy is more effective than traditional therapy for …
6. Horse riding helps to improve speech by improving one’s …
7. Why is, according to Diane, horse therapy more than just a horse riding?
2) The therapist organizes it in a special way.
8. What does the therapist do during the first session of horse therapy?
1) Chooses the program of treatment.
9. Which of the following groups is NOT mentioned by Diane as potential clients for hippotherapy?
3) Professional riders.