In this technique the equine movement is used as a treatment tool within Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, or Speech Language Pathology sessions. The goal is to attain improved physical functioning. Specially trained therapists change the characteristics of a horse's movements and positions of the client on the horse to impact neuromotor, sensory, and cognitive systems with the goal of improving the client's ability to participate in daily life.
There is a growing body of clinical research that supports the value of hippotherapy as a tool in the treatment of clients who demonstrate neuromotor and cognitive/communication deficits. Increasing exposure to neuromotor inputs is powerful in facilitating the key neuromotor systems that support physical function. Horses provide hundreds more neuromotor inputs than we can achieve in a traditional therapy setting. In 15-25 minutes of equine movement, a client will experience 1,500 to 2,500 neuromotor inputs. That is easily double the opportunity for practice than what is available in a traditional occupational therapy, physical therapy, or speech language pathology session. Equine movement that is skillfully applied by a therapist can facilitate complex motor learning and is a powerful tool for the facilitation of key neuromotor systems that support function.
Anyone who is medically cleared by a physician and who has a condition that would be helped by hippotherapy is a candidate. Our physical therapists complete screenings to determine if a client is an appropriate candidate for hippotherapy. We do not accept clients under the age of 2 at this time.