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COMPASS MAGAZINE > December 2017

Sheng Teng Horse Association

By Chloe Chang
Translated by Anna Yang

Sheng Teng Horse Association

As Sheng Teng Horse Association founder Chen Yi-hsing learned horse riding with her child, she came to realize that hippotherapy (therapeutic use of horses) created positive emotions and enhanced a child's learning abilities in several areas, including physical, intelligence and sensory integration. It's believed that the horse's movement creates neurological changes that help to improve a person's postural control, emotion stability, and coordination.
Chen's association, situated in Dongshi's Dasyueshan National Forest Recreational Area (about six kilometers from Dongshi), offers an animal-friendly horse range for equine-assisted therapy, horse riding lessons, casual horse rides, interaction with horses, and charity events.

Chen notes that horses are famed for their intelligence and, thus, treating them nicely will establish trust and security with humans as well. Hippotherapy offers educational opportunities in areas that include aesthetics, sports science and philosophy. The nearby Zhong Keng Elementary School also cooperates with the horse association, as Chen provides free lessons and encourages children with disabilities to approach horses in order to boost self-esteem and a sense of achievement.

The horse farm offers indoor/outdoor training areas, allowing sessions in any weather condition. Besides the professional English riding training (NT$15,000 for 11 classes), the training center also provides a 20-minute, one-on-one lesson for NT$800 for all ages. For advanced classes, horse riding in nature is provided and there's also a three-day horse riding camp provided during summer and winter breaks with guest lodging available, making it especially convenient for those living further away.

Some say that 10 minutes of horse riding is equal to being massaged 100,000 times and riding is categorized as a whole-body aerobic exercise, with the required posture helping to relieve muscles sore from sitting too long in the office. Anyone interested in learning more about horse riding or hippotherapy can make an appointment for a trial lesson, and the association will arrange a coach and a horse, taking into consideration an individual's age, height, weight and physical/emotional state. If you don't own any specialized horse-riding gear, wearing long cotton pants and sneakers is recommended.

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