Make your own free website on Tripod.com
Refuge Services home Refuge Services - Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy, Hippotherapy, Therapeutic Riding
Transforming Lives

Hippotherapy

What is Hippotherapy?

Hippotherapy (from the Greek "hippo" meaning "horse") is physical therapy utilizing the unique qualities of the horse as a therapy tool. The movement of the horse at the walk mimics the rider's own pelvis movement, providing a unique opportunity that cannot be duplicated in the traditional physical therapy room. The awareness of body movement improving strength, balance, muscle tone, posture and coordination benefits speech, physical or occupational therapy patients. Conducted only with a medical professional, Hippotherapy provides the patient with a fun and stimulating way to learn or re-learn skills that have been lost or compromised.

Hippotherapy is simply using a horse's movement as a therapy tool, much as Physical, Occupational, and Speech therapists might use a large ball to provide dynamic movement experiences in their pediatric clinics.  The greatest difference, and benefit, lies in the three dimensional movement of the horse's gait, which produces a movement in the human pelvis similar to natural walking.  It also results in an aerobic activity that is motivating to children on many levels.  The child sits astride the horse, while being supported by a therapist and led through a variety of fun activities designed to challenge the child at his or her own level.  A horse handler leads the horse.  Neither the child nor the therapist leads the horse, but the therapist may describe the speed, direction, or type of movement desired to the horse handler.  If the child is unable to sit with support, or lacks the head control to do so, then other positions may be used to safely facilitate the child's development.  Children wear safety helmets while riding.  Hippotherapy sessions do not include the use of the horse for recreation or riding instruction.  The opportunity to spend time in nature and to develop a relationship with the horse and the therapists is extremely motivating to most children.

How Does It Help?

Traditional therapy and hippotherapy can help many children with physical or cognitive disabilities, whether mild or severe.  Walking, endurance, strength, balance, flexibility, and coordination may improve.  Fine and gross motor skills may increase, as well as the attention span and communication skills of the child.

Who Can Benefit

Individuals of all ages, disabilities and conditions utilize hippotherapy and therapeutic horseback riding.

The types of disabilities and conditions served include:
  • Amputations
  • Mental Retardation
  • Austism
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Brain Injuries
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Cerebal Palsy
  • Post Polio
  • Down Syndrome
  • Speech Impairments
  • Emotional Disabilities
  • Spina Bifida
  • Hearing Impairments
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Visual Impairments
  • Cardiovascular Accident
  • Stroke

Hippo/Brochure

Hippotherapy & Therapeutic Riding

*Click here to see this brochure Adobe Acrobat Reader

 © Refuge Services, Inc. | Privacy Policy