Our Fabulous Physical Therapy Team ~


L to R:  Jessica Roy, Elaine Deschambeault and Erica Mann

Hippotherapy ~ another Example of an Innovative Therapy Description and Principles:

Hippotherapy is a term that refers to the use of the movement of the horse as a tool by Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, and Speech-Language Pathologists to address impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities in patients with neuromuscular dysfunction. This tool is used as part of an integrated treatment program to achieve functional outcomes. The classic principles of Hippotherapy are:

  • The horse’s movement promotes active responses in the patient;
  • Variations in the horse’s movement, as directed by the therapist, promote variations in the patient’s responses;
  • Hippotherapy promotes the development of problem solving skills as well as new strategies for balance and posture due to the constantly changing sensory input from the ever-changing environment;
  • The rhythmic movement of the horse’s pelvis mimics that of the human pelvis when walking with a ‘normal’ gait;
  • Hippotherapy is a meaningful and motivating activity that improves attention, timing and coordination.

The difference between therapeutic riding and Hippotherapy:

  • The goal of therapeutic riding is for the rider to learn riding skills while improving physically and functionally;
  • In Hippotherapy, we use the movement of the horse to influence the client in order to achieve therapeutic goals. The rider does not control the horse and we are not trying to reach riding skills.