Activities using horses (AUH)

We would like to inform you about another activity of our association intended to enrich the care for our clients up and to make it more effective. Due to the fact that for some of our clients mere hipotherapy is no longer sufficient, we have introduced another hiporehabilitation area – Activities using horses (AUH). This hiporehabilitation area is based on a pedagogical-educational process.

The importance of AUH for your child

AUH are a part of hiporehabilitation. The exact methodology has not been established yet; each workplace creates its own AUH approaches based on its experience with clients. The reason for introducing AUH in our association was "insufficiency" of hipotherapy for children who have already gotten to the hipotherapeutic maximum regarding their physical capabilities. However, they did not want to give up on horse riding and we did not consider standard horse riding a suitable form to continue. These days, horse riding is aimed at sport performance, which is not enough for us. In AUH children also go through riding training, but the goal is to teach children that the horse is not a toy, but a partner, with whom one has to build a relationship. They learn to communicate with the horse, which is beneficial for both of them. They learn not to use horses for fun, but to take care of them and to be friends with them. As nature is closer to handicapped children than today's modern society, friendship with a horse can considerably improve their social skills in regular life. For other children (those who have not gone through hipotherapy before) it is up to their parents whether they want to direct their child towards sport achievements or towards friendship with a horse. If you decide for the latter way, AUH represents the ideal leisure activity for your child. AUH can also be used as a preparation for sport riding approached through partnership with a horse instead of just using it.

Basic information about AUH

This activity is intended for children who already got to the maximum of their physical capabilities in hipotherapy and for "healthy" children. We offer AUH to children over 4 years of age.

AUH differs from hipotherapy in many different aspects. Children are in contact with horses not only during the ride as such, but they also clean them in the stables, take care of them, get information about horse handling and about horses in general. In addition to this section which takes place in a box or in an outdoor riding hall the children also learn to lead the horses, work with them from the ground and they get familiar with horse equipment. Another part of the lesson includes horse riding – however, this is not necessary. The entire unit lasts one hour, 2 children participate in it and it is divided into three parts. In the first one the children interactively cooperate in cleaning the horse and taking care of it, then one of the children rides the horse and the other one participates in an educational program or in interactive cooperation with a trainer/coach/special paedagogist. Only one responsible person is present during AUH, not a leader and physiotherapist as during hipotherapy. When riding, the horse works on a longe, which is a 7 m long leash, and the horse moves in a circle around the longer and c. 2 m from the authorised person. During a ride the child can be prepared for riding courses, for para-dressage training or his her motor skills can be improved in voltige exercises that he or she may have already started under the supervision of a therapist during hipotherapy. For each lesson we prepare an interesting program for the children that is tailor-made to their needs.

At present Laura Bezděková is responsible for this activity and has gone through training in this field and has been working with horses for several years. In our association she used to work as a hipotherapy leader. During preparation she cooperates with Mgr. Alena Kašparová, a special paedagogist.

A horse riding trainer is responsible for horse riding courses and AUH, his or qualification for leading riding lessons can be verified from a certificate that he or she has obtained after he or she passed the "Course for trainers" of the CRF. Thanks to this certificate both the trainer and the trainee are insured against possible injury. However, we recommend individual accident insurance. The trainer is responsible for the child for the whole time the child is present on the stable premises. When the trainer cannot lead the training for some reason, he is responsible the substitute trainer and he or she guarantees both safety and quality of the given training. In case of AUH a special paedagogist or a person trainer for this activity is responsible for the quality of the lesson.

AUH risks and their minimizing

Despite all benefits of AUH it is necessary to pay special attention to safety during this activity. Children are more independent than during hipotherapy, the risk of injury is therefore greater. Only one person is present, the child is not supported by anybody. The horse can also happen to step on the child's foot when he or she is handling the horse, or falls from a horse can also happen.

In order to minimize those situations, clear procedure for including children in AUH has been set down and has to be carefully observed:

Initial examination (not for children making a transfer from hipotherapy)

When a child is not transferring to AUH from daycare hipotherapy, he or she must have an initial examination by the head physiotherapist. He or she will determine whether the child is fit for inclusion into AUH, both physically and mentally. When the child is younger than 8 years of age, he or she has to take 4 hipotherapeutic units, unless otherwise instructed by the physiotherapist. In some cases the child can be included in hipotherapy for a longer time before it transfers to AUH, especially due to incorrect posture. This can also be determined by the trainer at the first AUH lesson.

Participation in an safety course

Before taking part in the first AUH lesson the child is obliged to participate a safety course that will be announced as required and will take place during a weekend. Its total length will be 2 hours. We also recommend taking part in other (not obligatory) courses – which regards not only children, but also their parents.

Suitable clothing for AUH

The child must have suitable clothing:

  • Riding trousers (or leggings or possibly close-fitting non-slip trousers)
  • Long-sleeved T-shirt (when it is very hot, short-sleeved T-shirt can also be used, but only when agreed with the trainer)
  • Riding three-point helmet
  • Riding shoes (riding boots, winter riding boots or boots with a smooth sole and low heels, boots with a deep sole pattern and heels are not suitable)
  • Protective riding vest

Children can have their own riding helmets and vests or they can borrow them from us for a one-time fee of 200 CZK a year. Thanks to this fee we will be able to buy high-quality equipment for your child.

Regular checks by a physiotherapist

The child is obliged to take a health check by our physiotherapist once every half a year. AUH is not oriented on performance (as far as riding is concerned), but on improving social, mental and physical skills of children, therefore these checks are necessary.

Making an appointment for initial examination and further rides

If you are interested in AUH at C. H. Mirákl, o.p.s., we would like you to fill in the Preliminary application for hipotherapy that you will send to Our production manager Bára Kunstovná will contact you shortly and arrange the dates of your examination and your first ride with you. You can also get all required information on the telephone number +420 605 830 245. According to an agreement with a therapist (especially concerning the required number of hipotherapeutic units before inclusion in AUH) the parent shall make reservations for further therapies at the e-mail address or telephone number listed above.

We would also like you to cancel therapies early enough – by 8 PM on the previous day. If there is an emergency situation on the day of your therapy, please send an SMS directly to Kateřina Čapková at the telephone number +420 607 616 104. When you fail to do that, C. H. Mirákl, o.p.s. can charge the incurred costs (30 % from the amount).

Payment for therapies

The price for a therapeutic unit is 250 CZK. The payment is done at the end of the month by wire transfer to the account number 107-3994350237/0100 at Komerční banka.

At the beginning of the month you will receive an informative e-mail including the amount for the rides during the previous month, the variable symbol necessary for the payment and the account number. The amount is to be paid by the 10th day of the month. Another payment method for the therapy can be agreed upon, for example a payment based on a donation agreement etc.