Equine Assisted Therapy

Equine-Assisted Therapy

The Crystal Ladder’s Equine Assisted Therapy is a fun and interactive way of building a special relationship between rider and horse. Facilitated by experienced and professional team of Horse Handlers and Behavioural Therapists, your child will be safely guided to learn to use their own abilities to direct the horse while managing their own body. Along with a specially screened and trained stable of horses, our friendly four-legged therapists each possess the patience and amicable demeanor that provides positive and individualized attention to each unique child that encourages self-confidence, responsibility and teamwork.

The Crystal Ladder’s Equine Assisted Therapy is run out of the conveniently located and picturesque Crystal Ladder Farm located in Uxbridge, Ontario just north of Toronto. With an indoor arena and an ABA equipped classroom, our Equine assisted riding therapy sessions can be delivered year-round regardless of the weather conditions outside.



For thousands of years the relationship between humans and horses has proven to be an effective and mutually beneficial way to establish an emotional and healing bond. Today the use of horses in Physical, Speech and Occupational Therapy falls under the therapeutic discipline known as Equine-Assisted Therapy. Studies have demonstrated numerous positive effects of Equine-Assisted Therapy on motor control, adaptive behaviours and overall emotional well-being and self-confidence in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Creating an Emotional Bond
Children with Autism often have difficulty bonding emotionally to others. They may not make appropriate eye contact, can communicate their feelings, or express themselves to those they care about. As an alternative, non-verbal children can experience physical or haptic communication with their horses through touch. They learn to brush, hug, pat and direct the horses through touch. Moreover, by learning to care for their horse, they soon associate the care they provide with positive feelings and thus an emotional bridge is constructed. This bond is generalized and transferred to social and communication skill production with other people in their lives.

Cognitive and Language Skills Development
Children with Autism often have difficulty comprehending simple instructions and task demands. During equine therapy their cognitive concepts will also naturally improve by engaging with the horse and by learning to follow directions through fun activities that makes task demands easier to grasp, remember and retain. Moreover, children are naturally motivated to move and therefore excited and motivated to communicate more while riding. The Learner will give the horse direction, which provides them with more opportunities to communicate through both verbal and non-verbal communication such as haptics.

Sensory Benefits
Balance and spatial orientation are experienced through the vestibular sense organs. These are located inside the inner ear and are stimulated through direction change, incline, and speed. Riding a horse helps liven these sensory preceptors, which helps make therapy exciting and motivates your child to continue to be engaged.