“It was a real pleasure having you come & play Saturday morning. I found the experiment both educational & very enjoyable. Immediate benefits I observed were how focus & attention to tasks for some of the riders were clearly improved. There was also a noticeable improvement in two of the horses. I believe all of the riders enjoyed the experience, & I would love to try it with another group I have that’s more advanced. It was great fun experimenting, & I look forward to doing some more work with this. It’s actually been quite inspiring.”
How to Use the Violin in your Sessions
There are as many ways to use the violin in a therapeutic riding session as there are clients! Has your lesson plan stalled? Is progress not as noticable as you would wish? The biggest advantage you have with me being part of your client’s session, is that I can provide you a with a new tool in your toolkit.
Who Benefits? Clients that benefit tend to be those with autistic markers and Down’s Syndrome individuals, but many with ADHD and blindness are also greatly helped. I’ve also noticed those with fear of heights or a stumbling horse forget about those fears if I am playing the violin as they ride. I’ve noticed intense calming of those with Tourette’s Syndrome. Also, those with auditory impairment react exceptionally well to the live violin. I’ve also worked with someone with low socialization skills and self-esteem.
Hands Off the Saddle
"Add The Violin "
If you have a Dependent rider, the violin can get you started by providing focus to encourage the rider to work harder at a Walk/Halt concept. How does this work? The violin can stop without warning, causing the rider to use more core strength in preparation for the stop.
Add the violin to engage through singing, which encourages vocalization and projection. This video shows listening skills, memory challenge, engagement, and enjoyment.
Add the violin to encourage focus, follow-through, listening, core strengthening, and balance. This video shows vocalization development, listening skills, and positive engagement.
If you have an Independent rider, getting started can mean using the violin for a drill routine, providing the client with a unique focusing tool. I have found clients work harder to follow through with instructions when the violin is providing a forward rhythm, such as in a trot or active walk.The horse is also more engaged, which translates to more energy during the ride. Also, previous arena anxiety is dispelled due to the violin creating a different focal point. The rider tends to forget about the original anxiety. When this new way of riding is possible, tasks can be executed more successfully.
The possibilities are as varied as there are people in the world! Please Contact me with any questions. I will help you figure out how to implement this kind of service in your facility for your clients to combine the arts with health! If you live on the other side of the country — or world —Contact me. I can help.
Outcomes observed include increased confidence and mobility, positive attitude, and happiness throughout the lesson and even after the sessions on the way home, and during the week.
I know through testimonial from parents and caregivers, that clients look forward to the next session, asking about the violin during the week. They look forward to the violin being part of their riding time, to be able to participate in a relaxed way and, in turn, to be more responsive to instructor requests or challenges.
Instructor Helgi also comments about J’s brother, who was riding simultaneously: “When his brother was trotting, I asked him to watch him trot. And he was looking back and forth between you and his brother, and this lightbulb came on; his brother was trotting to the music (because the music was a trot tempo, quick gait)! It was so cute. He’s said the word ‘trot’ before but not really enjoyed trotting. But today, that’s all he wanted to do once that lightbulb went on. The music made trotting fun.”
Instructor Lisa says about a client, “The anxiety level was present initially, especially since you were a new person in the arena. But quite early in the lesson, M started to focus very well, and when the horse started to get a bit quick, she didn’t panic. The anxiety level was reduced. And Dad, who watched, said that was the best ‘circle’ ever. Lexie usually wants to do a big horse trot, and M was able to control her because of motivation.”
Violin for Wellness Program Advocacy
Support including this arts component in your program at your facility. It is a wonderful, upbeat addition and sparks ideas for the instructors, creating energy for everybody — including the horses! I will be happy to come by and introduce the program to you, or your board. Please Contact me.
Once parent interest has been established, marketing is done by way of your facility newsletter and social forums, along with continuous networking on my part. It can also happen that parents find out about Violin for Wellness as the session progresses, because they’ll be observing others participating with the violin. Parents can sign-up at any time, but I recommend no less than 4 weeks as this gives more time for the program to do its magic.