NDSU offers Bison Strides equine therapy

This therapy allows individuals to receive therapy in a fun-filled and a not so typical therapy environment.

FARGO, N.D – (KVRR) – Get your boots and helmet and saddle up for a ride.

“We see a lot of benefits for people of abilities who are riding,” North Dakota State Associate Professor Animal Sciences Dr. Erika Berg said.

North Dakota State University offers equine activities and assisted therapies in a program called Bison Strides. The three programs within the activities are adaptive horsemanship, physical and occupational therapies, and a program for active duty military and veterans.

“The individuals we have out here if there is any fear they are over that really quickly the horses that we have out here are very gentle it takes a special type of horse for this work,” Berg said.

Physical Benefits from having this type of therapy with horses is improvement in the core strength and walking patterns in humans. It also improves social interactions with people and with the horses.

“We also see individuals really growing in their self esteem and confidence when they ask this 1,200 animal to woah and listens and turn right and turn left and it does what you ask thats a huge accomplish for them,” Berg said.

The Bison Stride Program is not only for young kids but any adult can participate

“It’s a huge confidence builder. For every body for young people to older adults who are riding,” Berg said.

The program was started in the summer of 2017 for students to get credit hours for their degree and make it the ideal learning environment outside of the classroom.

“NDSU has a equine assisted activities and therapies minor and so most of these classes are taught by undergraduate students who are learning to become adapted horsemanship instructors,” Berg said.

Bison Strides gives many people the opportunity to relieve stress and have fun while getting the help that they need.

“Horses don’t judge us, right. They don’t care about whether our clothes match or if we walk differently than other people they just wanna know that they are safe and so being able to give that kinda back to the horses is a really cool thing for participants,” Berg said.

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