Therapy sessions are 30 minutes in duration and are intensive whilst being fun and engaging. The client’s position on the horse and individualised changes to the horse’s movement promotes specific responses to sensory input. In this way, our therapist is able to target specific muscle groups and sensory receptors, during therapy, to facilitate goal achievement.
What is involved in a session?
These sessions require a highly trained team; including an Allied Health Professional (Physiotherapist, Occupational Therapist or Speech Pathologist) with specific training in hippotherpy, a hippotherapy horse handler, a specifically trained horse and highly skilled volunteers. This combination enables a highly specified and individualised program, targeting the individual needs of the client.
Why this type of therapy?
Hippotherapy has been found to have benefits for a range of clients; including those with Cerebral Palsy (CP), Autism, Down syndrome, Chromosomal disorders, brain injury, and developmental delays.
The multi-dimensional nature of the horse’s movement has similar mechanisms to the movement of the human pelvis while walking (McGee & Reese, 2009). Use of this sensory input during therapy can have a profound benefit for muscle recruitment and activation. Research studies have found improvements in postural stability and balance; as well as strength, co-ordination and range of movement (Zadnikar & Kastrin, 2011). Preliminary studies also report improvements in communication, social participation, coping and self-care skills (Ajzenman et al., 2013). Additional benefits may also include improved sensory processing, cognitive skills and emotional wellbeing.