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Introduction to Horse Boy Method

The Horse Boy Method of Rupert Isaacson is a wonderful, powerful and effective method to bring about better verbal communication with autistic children. Horse boy method is not about teaching children how to ride but to get communication with the autistic child. Autistic children start to open up to the outside world through the horse by being in the saddle.
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Horse Boy Method: 6 Stage Process

Horse Boy Method is a 6 stage process:

  • 1. Create the right environment with natural surroundings and no bad sensory triggers to calm the over active nervous system.
  • 2. Do sensory work by laying the child body to body bareback on the horse’s back. This will reduce stress behaviors.
  • 3. Start back riding with the child in front of the rider/therapist. The rhythmic rocking of the hips produces the feel good hormone oxytocin. By sitting behind the child there is not a challenging frontal confrontation that might upset the child. The soft rhythms at walk, trot and canter and the balancing and rebalancing opens up the kid’s brain to receive and retain information.
  • 4. Continue with perspective taking exercises and rules-based games, which will help to normalize the cognitive process of the child.
  • 5. Then start to ‘teach’ academics from the saddle. At this stage the child can be introduced to math, reading, languages, history, geography, natural sciences and other topics.
  • 6. Finally it’s about the stage of self-advocacy and the ability to make a case for oneself and in this the stage the child is encouraged to begin teaching us what interests him/her.

One of the most important keys in these stages is to let the child lead!

The family will be involved too in all stages and their needs will be addressed as well.

More information about the 6 stages and Horse Boy Method can be found here:


Introduction to Horse Boy Method

I had the privilege to be introduced to the Horse Boy Method by Rupert during the private 5-day clinic.

Rupert first gave me a full theoretical explanation of all stages and he let me witness stage 1 and 2 in practice.

Then Rupert prepared me for stage 3 and to prepare a rider/therapist for riding with a child, he uses a bear.

While riding you need to support the bear and guide the horse. The bear shouldn’t fall during riding and you shouldn’t hinder the horse either while holding the bear.

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Also in trot the bear should stay up and we also practiced the canter.

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The more a horse is able to collect, the better the movement will be for the autistic child.

Rupert: “The more collection you have with a child in the saddle with you, the more it rocks the child’s hips, and the more you rock the hips,  the more oxytocin (feel good hormone) you produce in the child’s body, and the more oxytocin you produce, the more communication and learning you get. so when we look for collection here at horse boy it’s not for sport, it’s so we can get a kid talking, or learning maths while in the saddle”. 

How wonderful is that!!

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Then the horse Marvel and I were ready for the next step: riding with Ethan.

Ethan is a lovely little boy, age 6. Once a week he comes to the Horse Boy ranch.

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While we were riding his mum followed us together with the professional staff of Horse Boy. Ethan felt really comfortable on Marvel. And Marvel is a fantastic horse who really takes care about the situation. He is right there along with us, all the time.

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Ethan was in charge all the time and he told us where to go at what speed. This is very important: the child should lead and we follow the child, always!

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So we dived into the forest on Ethan’s instructions and he decided to stop every now and then to look around.

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Rupert taught Ethan different lessons along the way, but these lessons arised in a very organical way, which is very powerful. So when we passed an ‘eatable’ tree, Rupert talked about it and let Ethan taste it.

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According to his mum, Ethan is a very difficult with eating, but during the ride he ate everything Rupert offered him. So that was a real breakthrough!

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Rupert did an amazing job in communicating with the child. Rupert talked in an organical way about nature, he gave the boy information about geography and history. So during the ride we got organically into the academics, which is stage 5. Rupert taught the child French words, and Ethan responded very well by repeating the French words, and that’s the power of the Horse Boy method.

So it was a very constructive session and Ethan had a great time, learned a lot, opened up and smiled!

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I loved to be a witness of the amazing effect of Horse Boy Method and I was really honored that I could be part of this magnificent way of working with autistic children.

I have deep, deep, deep respect for Rupert and the amazing staff of Horse Boy. They do such a wonderful and important job with the autistic children and their families!

I had also the honor to meet some children who had been in the program for years and who had grown up with self esteem and self advocacy and who where now able to communicate very well. They became a volunteer in the program to help other children. What a great outcome of this program!!!

More information about the 6 stages and Horse Boy Method can be found here:


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