"There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man." (Winston Churchill)
What can Hippotherapy do for my Child?
Hippotherapy uses the horse's movement to facilitate the neurophysiologic systems that support all of our functional daily living skills. When a child sits on a walking horse, he or she experiences a multidimensional movement, which is variable, rhythmic and repetitive. In fact, the horse's gait produces a similar movement response in the child as if he/she was personally walking. The horse provides a dynamic base of support, making it an excellent tool for increasing trunk strength and control, balance, building overall postural strength and endurance, addressing weight bearing, and motor planning. Equine movement is also a significant source of sensory input for a child's vestibular, proprioceptive, tactile and visual systems. In conclusion, 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 meet a child's sensory needs, increase his or her attention and motivation, provide postural support and control, and increase motor planning abilities so that he or she can focus more specifically on speech and language production & communication skills.
Horses are extremely motivating and a great self-esteem builder! Children experience the benefits of therapy without feeling like they are doing any work. As a result, they may be more responsive to treatment in this setting versus a typical clinic or educational setting.
Overall, hippotherapy improves:
Muscle Tone & Strength
Gross & Fine Motor Skills
Communication Skills (Expressive, Receptive, and Pragmatic Language)