An autistic boy forms a special bond with a horse

Isaiah Forte, a nine year old boy with autism, has become somewhat of a news sensation. He connected with a horse and now they take home ribbons together.

This has been wonderfully exciting for his parents who say that they took Isaiah to HorseAbility Center for Equine Facilitated Programs in Westbury, NY, and he immediately got attached to a particular horse named Ginger.

HorseAbility center provides therapeutic horseback riding for children and adults with special needs.

Although he has trouble connecting with people, Isaiah has no problem communicating with the horse. Everything with Ginger seems to come naturally.

Isaiah has competed at a horse show on Long Island, and won ribbons in a class for riders with disabilities.

Since he’s started riding Ginger, Isaiah’s shown tremendous improvement all around, even in the classroom. His special education teacher explains that now he focuses better on reading. She really thinks that horseback riding is helping him with school as well.

“HorseAbility . . . really gave him confidence. That, to me, was like his coming out party,” Isaiah’s father, Rick Forte, explained.

His mother stresses that the progress Isaiah has made while riding this horse has been “monumental”.

The jury is still out on whether or not hippotherapy, a therapy treatment strategy that uses the movement of horses, is very effective with autistic kids.

There have been small studies conducted about its impact on autistic children, but there is no in depth study yet that proves horseback riding is particularly beneficial.

However, there is a lot of research that proves contact with animals can reduce anxiety in children, and there is no denying the effect the horse Ginger has had on Isaiah.

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By: Rachel Schranck