In a hippotherapy session, a therapist uses the many unique qualities and properties that a horse offers (some that mimic traditional therapy tools) to enhance or build a child's abilities for success across all environments.  A brief example of one exercise for each type of therapy follows:


Because no two steps a horse takes are exactly the same, a physical therapist works on dynamic postural and balance reactions.


An occupational therapist works with fast and choppy steps (trotting) or slow and rhythmic steps (walking) of the horse to calm or arouse a child for sensory feedback or eye hand success.

  A speech therapist works on encouraging sounds or conversation using the distraction of upright activity.  
  A cognitive therapist works on body part recognition (of child and horse).  

     IN ALL CASES, children who have undergone or who will need years of traditional land-based therapies at home or in a school setting have the opportunity to "work" in a fun, motivating and wholly challenging way.

     British physiotherapists first offered riding therapy for wounded soldiers at the Oxford hospital during WWI.  Since that time, research has shown that horseback riding gently and rhythmically moves the body in a manner similar to the human walking gait.  Riders with impaired mobility are taught balance, coordination, and self-assurance while receiving muscle stimulation.  Individuals with learning or mental disabilities are motivated to increase concentration, patience and discipline.  The unique bond formed with the horse has also shown to aid in improved interpersonal relationships for those with psychological or emotional disabilities.  As a result, all riders can experience increased self esteem and coping skills.