In some cases a helmet is worn but this is not required in back-riding. In Spain a helmet is not required for any riding, however all our students wore helmets unless there was a medical reason not to. For example a shunt that would be damaged by the helmet or pressure on part of the brain so that the Doctor advised not to use one. The boy in this picture has no control of his head and upper torso so the back-rider maintains the proper position and helps him follow the instructions of the physiotherapist gaining maximum benefit from his sessions.
This student was with us for about five years. In this time, his muscle-tone improved greatly as did the working of his digestive system, allowing him to take fewer drugs. His sheer joy while on the horse was well worth it, plus usually after class, we took him on a short ride in the country. At the end of each session, we turned him on his stomach over the horse and walked around for about three minutes to help remove the fluid from his lungs. Depending on the student’s abilities, the lessons can begin with just five minutes and increase as the student develops more stamina and flexibility. Most lessons will last about 45 minutes.