Hippotherapy is a unique treatment that can be used to help both children and adults with a variety of physical, emotional, and communication disabilities. This technique uses the movement of the horse to help with neurological function and sensory processing for those with cerebral palsy, autism, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injuries and more. Hippotherapy is a treatment relies heavily on the actual movement of the horse through therapeutic riding.
How Does Hippotherapy Differ from Therapeutic Riding?
So you many be wondering, how does hippotherapy differ from therapeutic riding? Both of these activities rely on a horse’s movement to stimulate physical, mental, and emotional growth. However, each form of therapy is unique.
Therapeutic Riding is typically taught by a NARHA Certified Instructor and is conducted in a group or private setting. This form of therapy is formulated around teaching the riders to control their horse through various activities that help encourage the development of cognitive, physical and social skills. Therapeutic riding is commonly conducted in a group setting and is organized according to age, type of disability and level of riding skill.
Though hippotherapy is similar to therapeutic, there are some main differences. Hippotherapy is instructed by a licensed speech and language therapist, physical therapist, or occupational therapist. It is important that the therapist who is instructing the session is registered with the American Hippotherapy Association (AHA). He or she should also be a NARHA Certified Instructor. The rider works one-on-one with the therapist, which allows for more personal direction and attention. This way the therapy is also specifically directed at the rider’s individual needs and goals.
To get started with hippotherapy talk with your doctor or a therapist about the options available to you in your community.
For more information on hippotherapy and its benefits, visit www.americanhippotherapyassociation.org