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Physical Therapy Incorporating Hippotherapy

Hippotherapy - Purple Circle
Hippotherapy 2 - Wheelchair

What is Physical Therapy Incorporating Hippotherapy?

Hippotherapy is a treatment strategy used by Physical, Occupational and/or Speech Therapists to utilize the movement of the horse along with traditional therapeutic techniques to achieve the desired motor and sensory outcomes of the participant. The horse provides multidimensional movement and multisensory input in an organized fashion which can help to improve a variety of deficits.

The horse’s pelvis and hips move in the exact same way as a human’s pelvis and hips when walking on the ground. The horse assists us with retraining the brain in the walking pattern and improving balance and coordination. For a person who has either never walked or lost the ability to walk, the horse’s movement can introduce and coordinate the pattern of walking within the body and brain.

Core strength is imperative for a multitude of functional tasks. Sitting on a horse while in motion can challenge the core 3,000-5,000 times more than functional training in a clinic. The horse is a dynamic being that takes 100 steps per minute while walking and every step the horse takes the body must respond in order to stay upright. We can achieve higher progress outcomes with a horse in a shorter amount of time. We are essentially combining two nervous systems, the client’s and a horse. This in turn stimulates all the neuropathways of the patient simultaneously within that session.

It’s All About The Movement!

The human pelvis allows our body to move front to back, side-to-side and in rotation. A horse’s pelvis functions the same exact way! So, for someone who is unable to walk independently, riding a horse can be very beneficial. The pelvic moment experienced by the participant while riding, can mimic the human walking pattern. It is said that if you close your eyes while riding a horse, it will feel as if you are walking on air. The horses’ movement not only gives you the sensation of walking, but it also increases muscle strength, range of motion and coordination, all of which assist in improving postural stability. 

“Some Friends Have Four Legs”

In addition to the physical benefits of riding a horse, interactiong with the horse can improve confidence, trust and social skills. Horses are very good at recognizing human emotion and responding to their environment. 

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Emerald M Therapeutic Riding Center


4022 Goldsmith Road, Brooksville, Florida 34602



Emerald M Therapeutic Riding Center

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