Horse riding may help stroke survivors recover

Horse riding could help people recover after suffering a stroke, researchers have found.

Experts discovered patients benefited from horse riding lessons even five years after experiencing a life-changing attack.

Patients who had the lessons twice a week for 12 weeks saw improvements in balance, walking gait, grip strength and cognition.

Stroke victims saw their average scores on these attributes increase by 10 per cent over the three-month course – in which time a group of patients not involved in the classes saw their scores fall by an average 0.5 per cent.

Crucially, some 56 per cent of patients who underwent the lessons saw benefits that were sustained for at least six months after the course had ended, the scientists found.

 Image result for horse riding

Horse riding lessons twice a week for 12 weeks produced improvements in balance, walking gait, grip strength and cognition

How does it work? 

The researchers think horse riding is so successful because the rocking of the horse’s back create a sensory experience that closely resembles normal human gait – reminding them of the sensation of walking and balancing.

The research, by experts in Sweden and Australia, also found a form of therapy in which patients beat their hands and feet to music was beneficial, although only to about half the degree of the horse-riding lessons.

People who took part in the rhythm-and-music classes improved by 5 per cent, and 43 per cent saw the benefits last six months.

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