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A specialized and very impressive type of therapeutic riding is vaulting, in which the student learns to perform gymnastic exercises on horseback (Figure 4.1). This requires skill, practice, and courage on the part of the student, and a quiet, steady horse with comfortable, rhythmic gaits. Although vaulting may be too physically demanding for many disabled students, some young people with delayed development and/or behavioral problems have been amazingly successful in mastering daring, circuslike routines on the back of a moving horse. The benefits depend upon forming mutual trust between the horse and performer. The horse is often a much better disciplinarian than any human teacher could hope to be.

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