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What is Hippotherapy

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 8 months ago

 

 

 

What is Hippotherapy?

 

 

 

 

    Hippotherapy is a physical, occupational and speech therapy treatment used on patients with disabilities who suffer from autism, cerebral palsy, previous stroke, down syndrome, scoliosis, learning disabilities, multiple sclerosis, or traumatic brain injuries. The three-dimensional movement of the horse's pelvis leads to a movement response in the patient's pelvis which is similar to the movement patterns a person produces when walking. The horse's walk provides physical and sensory input through movement, which is variable, rhythmic, and repetitive. The variability of the horse's trot allows the therapist to evaluate the degree of input to their subject. They then use this information in combination with other treatment strategies to aid in the patient's rehabilitation. Hippotherapy offers an effective means of addressing speech and language deficits through facilitation of the physiological systems that support speech and motor function.

 

 

    The therapist can overlay a variety of motor tasks on the horse's movement to address the motor needs of each patient and to promote functional outcomes in skill areas related to gross motor ability such as sitting, standing, and walking. The horse provides a powerful support base, which produces an excellent tool for developing trunk strength and control, balance, building overall postural strength and endurance, addressing weight bearing, and motor planning. During the horse's movement transitions, the patient must perform subtle adjustments in the trunk to maintain a stable position. The effects of equine movement on postural control, sensory systems, and motor planning can be used to facilitate coordination and timing, grading of responses, respiratory control, sensory integration skills and attentional skills. Hippotherapy can be used to facilitate the neurophysiologic systems that support all of our functional daily living skills.

 

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