Recently my daughter has been approved for hippotherapy. Hippotherapy is basically horseback riding therapy. Since having my daughter ride yesterday, I’ve already been asked how does having my daughter ride a horse help her? Well, thank you for asking me, here’s the long and short of it…
According to the American Hippotherapy Association, “hippotherapy is a physical, occupational, and speech-language therapy treatment that utilizes equine movement as part of part of an integrated intervention program to achieve functional outcomes.” Hippotherapy can help people in all walks of life. From special needs to the disabled.
I took my daughter to Harmony in Hooves in Salem, Arkansas. Harmony in Hooves is an actual therapeutic riding facility for children and adults. While we were there learning about the horses and the facility, we got to see first hand how the facility works as two of their regular riders arrived after us. One was an adorable little girl with down syndrome and the other with a beautiful woman who was paralyzed. Riding helps both of them as it will help my daughter.
Equine movement – the movement of the horse – will help with posture control, speech, sensory integration, communication, gross motor skills, attentional skills, and so many other things, especially security. It can even help with coordination and balance. It can be a big sensory input just from the contact of the horse and it’s movement. Hippotherapy isn’t going to teach riding skills, it is a slow pace riding to help with all of what I stated above.