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Hippotherapy

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Hippotherapy (HPOT) is a form of physical, occupational and speech therapy in which a therapist uses the characteristic movements of a horse to provide carefully graded sensory input to achieve functional outcomes.

How does Hippotherapy work?

  • The horse's movement provides multidimensional movement. The variable, rhythmic and repetitive movement, stimulates muscles and helps build muscle/motor memory.
  • The horse provides a dynamic base of support, making it an excellent tool for building core body strength and control, improving balance, increasing overall strength and endurance, addressing weight bearing and motor planning.
  • The horse's movement offers constant, moderate sensory stimulation for sight, sound, and touch.
  • During gait transitions, the patient must perform subtle adjustments in the trunk to maintain a stable position.
  • When a patient is sitting forward astride the horse, the horse's walking gait imparts movement responses remarkably similar to normal human gait.

What are some positive effects of Hippotherapy?

  • The effects of the horse's movement improves people's posture, attention span, and sensory integration.
  • HPOT improves skill areas related to gross motor ability such as sitting, standing, and walking.
  • HPOT facilitates neurophysiologic systems that support all of the functional daily living skills.
  • The physical therapist can overlay a variety of motor tasks on the horse's movement to address the motor needs of each patient, making HPOT a completely customizable form of treatment.

Is Hippotherapy right for your child?

HPOT is most effective for individuals who have moderate to severe physical and mental conditions. Some of the medical conditions and impairments that can experience significant improvement through HPOT include: Armando01
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Developmental Delay
  • Genetic Syndromes
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Sensory Integration Disorders
  • Speech-Language Disorders
  • Traumatic Brain Injury/Stroke
  • Abnormal muscle tone
  • Impaired balance responses
  • Impaired coordination
  • Impaired communication
  • Impaired sensorimotor function
  • Postural asymmetry
  • Poor postural control
  • Decreased mobility
  • Limbic system dysfunction related to
arousal and attentional skills

To learn about Therapeutic Riding, click here.