Cowboy up!

Commonly asked questions




"Cowboy up!" is a unique Aufsteiger program specificially targeting children aged 5 through 10. It is designed to be a group setting for 2 to 6 participants. "Cowboy up!" combines the following concepts that Esther has studied:

To promote the best outcome for your child, graphomotor skills activities are included in the program.

What makes "Cowboy up!" so unique and powerful is that children experience the content of each intervention on all sensory input levels.


All participants are split into teams which consist of 2 children, one pony and one Aufsteiger staff member. Every intervention offers a new adventure to be accomplished. While one child leads the pony, the other one sits astride. Furthermore a graphomotor challenge is waiting for the participants. As positions are rotated, each individual recieves all the benefits of the program. 





The unique and innovative program "Cowboy up!", which combines psychomotricity, sensory integration, graphomotor skills, problem solving and communication skills, is aimed at kids aged between 5 and 10 years, who show slight delays in their motor development. It can be understood as a secondary preventative concept which supports reaching the developmental milestones and avoiding consequential damages like behavioural disorders or academic problems.  


Without intensive play that involves the whole body, a child can not experience the sensory input required for proper brain development. In addition, the child lacks experiences to master skills to deal with different situations that are crucial in the development of a normal personality. A.J. Ayres

(Translated from the german version of A.J. Ayres book Sensory Integration and the child)




It is common for children who show delays in motor development to have experienced frustration in relation to sports or exercising. Negative experiences can have a huge impact on the childs self esteem as they may lead to avoiding participation in any sports activity. Through the lack of physical exercise the individual is even more challenged in reaching the milestones in their motor development. Research has shown that motor development is linked to mastering academic skills (M.T. Kantomaa, Finnland).

With the help of the pony, exercise is put in a new and exciting motivating context. Since the equine partner is unjudgemental, cute, lovable and encourages interaction,  a child can work towards reaching their milestones. The pony distracts the child from the negative experience that they associate with exercise and sports.


Leading the pony  through the parkcour encourages:

  • problem solving and decision making skills
  • improvement of gross motor skills (e.g. balance and coordination)
  • confidence and responsibility
  • communication and interaction

Sitting astride the pony encourages:

  • balance and equilibrium reactions
  • coordination and trunk control
  • confidence and trust
  • communication and interaction

These skills are the fundation that fine motor skills and graphomotor skills are built upon. This is why we have incorporated them into this holistic aproach. Kids love talking about "their ponies" and "their adventures". The fact that they are part of this intervention because they were challenged in their development doesn´t seem to be relevant.




"Cowboy up!" is a holistic aproach that combines psychomotricity, sensory integration, graphomotor skills, problem solving and communication skills. This evidence based program encourages development and helps to achieve a childs milestones. As balance and equilibrium reactions improve, so will their coordination and movement patterns.  


Mastering challenges of every day life situations can be achieved by using the global problem solving strategy outlined through the CO-OP approach. 


Self esteem and confidence are promoted by strengthening social and communicative competences as well as motor planning and performance skills.


Moving through the challenges faced in each parkour improves body image and schema. Through this experience it also helps the child to understand spatial relations, movement and position in space.





The first step is to contact us so we can answer any of your questions specific to your personal situation and help you to determine if "Cowboy up!" would be an appropriate intervention for your child or your students. The second step would be to arrange a home or classroom visit. The purpose of this visit is to get to know your child/ students and their developmental status. After this evaluation we continue the session with an intervention once per week for 10 weeks at the riding center Lützelsoon, Hennweiler. After that we reevaluate the outcomes for each participant. 


If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask us. We are happy to hear from you!


We are looking forward to meeting you!