Riding High

Wooden Spoon Essex provided a £2,700 grant for a new pony at REACH, in Brentwood, to provide specialist physiotherapy. REACH (Rehabilitation, Education and Assessment Centre for Hippotherapy) uses horses to deliver treatment programmes for adults and children with physical, mental, social and learning disabilities. Hippotherapy uses the three dimensional movement of horses in walk to correct and improve movement, balance and core strength.

The therapy benefits cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, brain and spinal cord injuries and other movement disorders.

Ten-year-old Eleanor has microcephaly, profound and multiple learning disabilities, and is non-mobile. Eleanor’s mum, Jane, explains how the new horse, Sally, is helping her: “By working her muscles and core balance, along with being more engaged with her surroundings, makes Eleanor less tactile defensive and she is making more purposeful sounds.”

“Eleanor has been coming to REACH since the summer of 2018 for hippotherapy. Sally is the latest horse Eleanor has been matched with and they are working very well together. Sally is such a calm horse, she stands really well at the ramp, from which Eleanor mounts her – the previous horse hated the ramp, making it difficult to mount!”

“While Sally’s movement is consistent, it still provides enough of a challenge to work Eleanor’s core muscles and balance.”