2,000+ opportunities per treatment
Because therapy horses average 2,000+ steps during a typical treatment, hippotherapy gives patients thousands of opportunities to develop and refine balance responses, leading to improvements in core stabilization and postural control.
Here’s how that might look in a treatment
- Laying the neurological network for a normal gait pattern by sitting facing forward on the horse.
- Strengthening motor-planning, timing, sequencing, and bilateral skills by passing rings back and forth with a therapist and sidewalker.
- Strengthening extremities and refining balance reactions by kneeling or standing on the horse.In all of this, the horse is acting as a dynamic (moving) surface on which the child is being challenged by constantly receiving carefully-graded input.
Cannot be replicatedSimulating the proper, three-dimensional pelvic motion of a human pelvis at a walk is a serious challenge. Even in this advanced technological age, there isn’t any equipment that can replicate it.
Fortunately, the movement of the horse’s pelvis at a walk is remarkably similar to a human’s. That’s exceptionally good news for someone who needs help learning how the all parts of the body work together to sit, stand, walk, throw a ball, or play on the playground. Through hippotherapy, the horse serves as a living, breathing template.
Physical benefits include improvements in
- Control of extremities
- Eye-hand coordination
- Fine motor skills such as writing, tying shoelaces, and snipping with scissors
- Gross motor skills such as sitting, standing, and walking
- Head and trunk control
- Postural symmetry
- Motor planning
- Muscle tone and strength
- Range of motion
- Respiratory control
- Trunk/core strength
- Visual motor
Cognitive benefits include advancements in
- Expressing thoughts and needs
- Timing and grading of responses
- Understanding of visual cues
- Visual coordination
Sensory benefits include positive effects on
- Body awareness
- Limbic system function related to arousal, motivation, and attention
- Social interaction
- Pressure grading
- Sensorimotor function
- Sensory integration
- Tactile response
- Vestibular input