Physical therapists using Hippotherapy are utilizing the unique multidimensional movement to facilitate changes in the participants. The movement is rhythmic and repetitive in nature. Thus providing a dynamic base of support making it an excellent tool for increasing trunk control and strength, balance, postural control and endurance as well as weight bearing and motor planning. The therapist is able to manipulate various aspects of the horse’s gait and movements, the participant’s position on the horse, the therapeutic tack and types of activities/interventions to generate and promote functional outcomes.
Speech and Language Therapy
Hippotherapy uses equine movement to accomplish traditional speech, language, cognitive, and swallowing goals. Carefully modulated, well cadenced equine movement offers a highly effective means of addressing speech and language deficits through facilitation of the neurophysiological systems that support speech and language function. Equine movement improves postural control, sensory systems and motor planning in order to facilitate coordination and timing, modulation, respiratory control, sensory integration and attention. Sensory integration via hippotherapy simultaneously addresses the vestibular, proprioceptive, tactile, visual, kinesthetic, olfactory, and auditory systems. And it’s fun!