Occupational Therapy with Hippotherapy


Commonly asked questions about

WHAT IS OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY WITH HIPPOTHERAPY?

 

According to the American Hippotherapy Association (AHA),"The term hippotherapy refers to how occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech-language pathology professionals use evidence-based practice and clinical reasoning in the purposeful manipulation of equine movement to engage sensory, neuromotor, and cognitive systems to achieve functional outcomes. In conjunction with the affordances of the equine environment and other treatment strategies, hippotherapy is part of a patient's integrated plan of care."

 

WHO WOULD BENEFIT FROM THIS TREATMENT?

 

The use of the equine partner in the occupational therapy treatment is intended for children and adults with minor to more severe neurological, sensory, communicative and / or motor skill impairments. Examples of medical diagnosises that lead to one or more of these impairments are: attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), apoplex/stroke, autism spectrum disorder (ASS), cerebral palsy (CP),  developmental delay of motor and cognitive skills, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), dysplasia of the hip, multiple sclerosis (MS), parkinsons disease (PD), recovering from chemotherapy, sensory processing disorder (SPD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), Trisomy 21 (Down- Syndrome). 

 

WHY USE A HORSE FOR THERAPY?

 

While sitting astride the horse the client experiences an intensive and rhythmical motor and sensory multidimensional input which impacts numerous systems in the human body. The pelvic movement of a horse is almost identical to the human walk, transferring about 100 inputs per minute. To this day, this movement cannot be imitated by any other therapeutic medium.

Some individuals who require ongoing therapeutic interventions lose motivation on engaging with their traditional sessions. Involving a horse with this type of individual can serve as a tremendous motivation to achive the clients personal goals. Using the equine parter is an exciting experience for most people and encourages a joyful interaction throughout the therapeutic process. The horse is often percieved as a partner who understands and supports while taking away their focus on the disability.  Some clients (especially kids) often refer to this intervention as "riding my horse" rather than "going to see my therapist". 

The following video was taken at the Shea Center, CA.  It analyzes the horse and human movement and points out the impact on the client sitting astride.

 

WHAT IMPOROVEMENTS CAN BE ACHIEVED THROUGH OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY WITH HIPPOTHERAPY?

 

We take pride in offering a holistic treatment and decline to reduce individuals to a certain challenge. The following list serves to depict the various effects of occupational therapy with hippotherapy.

 

Focusing on motor function, people challenged with:        can see results regarding:                        
 
  • decreased range of motion and coordination
  • active and passive movement disorder
  • muscle insufficiency and muscle reduction
  • gross-motor skill impairments
  • functional body position disorders
 
  • improvement of balance and equilibrium reactions
  • normalization of muscle tone
  • decrease of pathological body posture and movement patterns
  • increase of physiological muscle function and coordination
  • improvement of coordination and movement patterns
  • prophylaxis of poor posture and deformity of different body parts
Focusing on sensorimotor perception, people challenged with: can see results regarding:
  • sensory perception and sensory integration
  • tempo and quality of their psychomotricity
  • increased body awareness, perception and body schema
  • coordination and implementation of sensory input
  • improvement of spatial awareness
  • improvement of position and movement in space
Focusing on psychological function, people challenged with: can see results regarding:
  • adaptation in behavioural patterns
  • interpersonal interaction and communication
  • social- emotional competences
  • action planning and competence
  • problem solving skills
  • adaptation of behaviour in the situation
  • improvement of interpersonal interaction and communication
  • increased self-awareness and judgement
  • experience of self- efficiancy and trust
  • mental stability

 

HOW CAN I GET STARTED?

 

The first step is to contact us to arrange an initial assessment to determine wheter or not a prescription is required. Providing a client centered intervention, we like to offer you a home visit prior to the treatments in the riding center Lützelsoon, Hennweiler. While we get to know you in your every day life setting during the home visit, we define your goals for the therapeutic intervention. 

 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us!

 

 

We are looking forward to meeting you!