Hippotherapy In Detail


To help understand hippotherapy better, we want to go into a bit more detail. Did you know by using this therapy, horses provide a dynamic base of support for our clients? This makes them an excellent tool to help in increasing core/postural strength and control, balance, and endurance while addressing weight bearing, and motor planning issues.

Still not a believer? Check this out! Equine movement offers well-modulated sensory input to vestibular, proprioceptive, tactile and visual channels. To most, this is a foreign language. So to break it down a bit, every horse moves in a different way where the patient must perform subtle adjustments in the trunk to maintain a stable position while on our horse. Our therapists are able to grade the degree of sensory input our horse provides to our patient through studying it’s movement. They then utilize this movement in combination with other treatment strategies to achieve desired results. The effects of equine movement on postural control, sensory systems, and motor planning can be used to facilitate coordination and timing, grading of responses, respiratory control, sensory integration skills and attentional skills. Equine movement can be used to facilitate the neurophysiologic systems that support all of our functional daily living skills.  Patients respond enthusiastically to this enjoyable experience in a natural setting.

Physical Therapists: The physical therapist can overlay a variety of motor tasks on the horse’s movement to address the motor needs of each patient and to promote functional outcomes in skill areas related to gross motor ability such as sitting, standing, and walking.

Occupational Therapists: The occupational therapist is able to combine the effects of the equine movement with other standard intervention strategies for working on fine motor control, sensory integration, feeding skills, attentional skills, and functional daily living skills in a progressively challenging manner.

Speech-Language Pathologists: The speech-language pathologist is able to use equine movement to facilitate the physiologic systems that support speech and language. When combined with other standard speech-language intervention strategies, the speech-language pathologist is able generate effective remediation of communication disorders and promote functional communication outcomes.

Specially trained therapy professionals evaluate each potential patient on an individual basis to determine the appropriateness of including hippotherapy as a treatment strategy.

Our therapy professionals work closely with our equine professionals to manipulate various aspects of the horse’s movement, position, management style, equipment and types of activities to generate effective remediation protocols and to promote functional outcomes.