Hippotherapy is a type of physiotherapy that uses the movement of a horse as a therapy tool. It is a fun and engaging way of doing physiotherapy which helps build strength and conditioning, balance and coordination by using sensory and motor systems all at once. Therapeutic riding (such as can be seen in the riding for the disabled) commonly has the goal of teaching riding skills and making riding as a sport accessible to people with a range of disabilities, whereas hippotherapy is specifically aimed at improving functionality for every aspect of life.
What is Hippotherapy?//
As the horse moves so does the rider. For example, as the horse walks the rider experiences those movements too. This is a whole body movement that affects the position, strength, tone, balance and flexibility of the trunk, hips, legs and head of the rider. The movement of the horse also impacts the senses and reactions of the rider which helps improve coordination and movement. In hippotherapy the rider can be placed in different positions including astride, backwards, sideways and lying, depending on the goals of the therapy treatment. The repetitive movement of the horse means a child can practice the same movements many many times in a session in a fun and engaging way.
How does Hippotherapy help? //
Hippotherapy typically benefits children and adults with neurological disorders such as cerebral palsy, stroke, aquired brain injury or developmental delay amongst others.
Hippotherapy aims to improve balance, flexibility, tone, coordination, head control, sitting and standing balance, transitions and walking. If you feel you or someone you know may benefit from hippotherapy, please get in touch.