The Equihandee Freedom was the second harness to be created. Following discussions with parents of children with disabilities such as autism/sensory needs, global development delay and sensory processing disorder. They needed a product that would help relieve the pressures of our first harness but would offer the same kind of support. Parents found the straps of the first harness caused irritability and stress for the children when wearing it.
Being in the company of animals for children with disabilities such as autism can be easier than with people, animals are also a great therapy. Animals don’t judge, criticize or reject you, being with animals can also combat feelings of loneliness and can reduce the anxiety or depression as well as helping in social development.
Scientists have found levels of oxytocin, the hormone which promotes social interaction and increases bonding and empathy, increases when interacting with horses.
So being around and riding horses is a great therapy for everyone but especially for children with any disability. Some of the benefits include sensory integration is improved, quickens reflexes and aids in motor planning, reduction in irritability and improvements with word fluency and communication.
It has also been clinically documented that just being around horses changes human brainwave patterns. We calm down and become more centred and focused when we are with horses. Horses are naturally empathetic. When we are in the saddle we benefit the motor, emotional and sensory sensations that come with riding a horse
So creating a product that improved the lives of children was a no brainer, Equihandee Freedom was born. We incorporated a soft cushioned neoprene jacket with the harness, this alleviated the pressures of the straps for the riders. This then creates a much calmer environment for the children and the parents which then enables the child to benefit even more from the riding itself. The Freedom is fully adjustable and fits a 4-year-old right up to a 12-year-old.
Having the handles to hold onto helps the parent /instructor to stabilise the child rather than holding clothes or a leg which isn’t very safe for your child. This in turn gives the parent/instructor peace of mind for their child. The child is calmer as the pressures of the straps have been removed and they also feel safe and secure. This creates a more harmonious time for all involved so everyone benefits from spending time with equines.