Through our Hippotherapy Program, staff and volunteer Occupational and Physical Therapists provide weekly individual lessons for children and adults facing more severe physical impairments and functional limitations. One or more trained volunteers provides close shadowing or hands-on assistance, ensuring the rider’s safety.
The focus of the riding session is on mounted activities that build gross and fine motor capability. The hippotherapy experience uses the unique movement of the horse to help riders develop fine and gross motor skills. In addition, the therapist-volunteers team uses verbal direction plus hands-on assistance to build riders’ concentration and communication skills.
Often, our Hippotherapy riders "graduate" to Therapeutic Riding when their sitting balance, core strength, and cognitive function have improved to the point that they're ready for new challenges.
Many of our Hippotherapy clients are young children. Parents note with amazment the strides their children make through Hipptherapy:
♦ My child started walking independently + 6 weeks after starting Hippotherapy.
♦ Katie is definitely stronger because of her lessons. She can sit up strong and erect on the horse and can even stand up in her stirrups.
In 2012-2013, Special Equestrians collaborated with the University of the Sciences in a study called “The Use of Objective Measures in Hippotherapy.” Conducted by students Alin George, SPT, and Laura Santana, SPT, under the guidance of Professor Kimberly D. Ward, PT, DPT, MPH, the pilot study investigated the use of objective measures in hippotherapy and how they may be used to measure physical changes in children with physical disabilities who participate in hippotherapy. The study focused on four clients currently enrolled in Special Equestrians’ hippotherapy or therapeutic riding program and measured their functional outcomes through pediatric standardized outcome measures. A second group of students will be continuing the study in the 2013-2014 academic year.
In 2014, Special Equestrians hosted a Hippotherapy Workshop for Arcadia University's doctoral physical therapy students. Click here to view the presentation.
Would you like to help support this program? Please Donate Now. Our students and our horses thank you!