Anke Ebener, together with educational and healthcare professionals created Children's F.E.A.T's unique Equine Assisted Communication Program. It combines the benefits of several forms of therapeutic disciplines with the main focus on:
Applied Behavior Analysis:
Picture cards and the natural environment are used to encourage the children to talk. Based on B.F. Skinner's Verbal behavioral approach, discrete trials are conducted on horseback. Positive reinforcement is the preferred behavioral strategy. The horse is used as a strong motivator. Several additional forms of therapeutic disciplines are also integrated into the program. This ensures additional benefits to the children furthering their individual success.
Come and play! Children are asked to throw balls, match colors and shapes and explore different textures while on the horse. Sensory Integration in combination with the movement of the horse, increases the child's independent time on tasks, vocal output and intelligibility.
Riding backwards increases flexibility in the hips and reorganizes the brain. Lying down strengthens the core muscles. Movements crossing the center line connect the two sides of the brain. Depending on the physical condition of the child, a plethora of exercises can be safely conducted on horseback.
The most unspectacular and least intrusive form of therapy, brings amazing results. It allows the horse to be the therapist. It calms hyperactive children, encourages speechless children to talk, and provides physical and emotional healing. The horse's multidimensional walk stimulates the muscles and increases the vocal intensity. The powerful and gentle animal creates an environment to overcome fear, opens your heart and soul and provides hope, love, and acceptance.
Teaching the child to trot the correct way and steer the horse themselves fosters independence and self esteem. According to the physical and emotional condition of the child, adapted riding skills will be taught utilizing a leash or lounge line.
Therapeutic Driving is a great addition or substitute to therapeutic riding for children of all ages and conditions. Driving provides upper body movements that exercise the back, shoulders, and arms. It improves breathing, creates endurance, and gives great sensory input through its continuous speed. For many children, holding the reigns provides a feeling of confidence and independence. Driving through an obstacle course improves focus, aim, and balance. After mastering a certain level of driving skills, independent driving can be achieved. Even mainstreaming in carriage competitions is possible. Our gentle and well trained miniature horse is easy to handle and makes driving a safe, inspiring experience.