Derived from the Greek hippos (horse), "hippotherapy" literally refers to OT, PT OR ST SERVICES that incorporate the use of equine as a part of their comprehensive treatment plans for their clients. The concept of hippotherapy finds its earliest recorded mention in the ancient Greek writings of Hippocrates.
HIPPOTHERAPY is OCCUPATIONAL PHYSICAL, OR SPEECH THERAPY services that incorporates the strategy of equine movement or interactions to promote improved functional skills in their clients. Hippotherapy is ALWAYS part of comprehensive therapy plan of care, with all of our clients also participating in other therapy services at some point in timer. Licensed, board-certified therapists utililize the unique characteristic movements of a horse to provide carefully grade motor and sensory input. A foundation is established to improve neurological function and sensory processing, which can be generalized to a wide range of daily activities. We at North Georgia Equine in Motion provide Hippotherapy Occupational AND Speech Therapy.
North Georgia Equine-n-Motion uses Occupational and Speech therapists providing hippotherapy that utilizes the movement of the horse to improve motor control, coordination, balance, attention, sensory processing and performance in daily tasks. The reciprocal multi-dimensional movement of the horse helps with the development of fine motor skills, visual motor skills, bilateral control and cognition as well. Sensory processing via hippotherapy simultaneously addresses the vestibular, proprioceptive, tactile, visual and auditory systems. The occupational therapist incorporates the movement of the horse to modulate the sensory system in preparation for a therapy or treatment goal that leads to a functional activity.
The role of the horse ? The horse's pelvis has a similar three-dimensional movement similar to the human's pelvis at the walk. The horse's movement is carefully graded at the walk in each treatment for the patient. This movement provides physical and sensory input which is variable, rhythmic and repetitive. The variability of the horse's gait enables the therapist to grade the degree of input to the patient and use this movement in combination with other treatment strategies to achieve desired therapy goals or functional outcomes.
In addition, the three-dimensional movement of the horse's pelvis leads to a movement response in the patient's pelvis which is similar to the movement patterns of human walking. A foundation is established to improve neurological function and sensory processing, which can be generalized to a wide range of daily activities and address functional outcomes and therapy goals.
The benefits of the horse in Hippotherapy is the movement of the horse is a means to a treatment goal. The horse's movement promotes active responses in the patent. Variations in the horse's movement as directed by the therapist, promote variations in Patient responses which are intended to affect function.
The benefits of Hippotherapy within Occupational and Speech Therapy Services
Physically, not only does the natural gaits of the horse stimulate muscle movement within the human body, the rhythms also force the rider to find their center of balance. Hippotherapy is seen as a successful way to address balance strategies, dynamic postural stability, muscle strength, muscle control, bilateral integration, circulation, and endurance. Mobility of pelvis, spine and hip joints are also successfully addressed along with modification of muscle tone.
Mentally, hippotherapy increases spacial awareness or body awareness with aids in bilateral integration and midline orientation. Improved motivation, arousal and attention and sensorimotor integration are also improved through hippotherapy. Problem solving along with timing and coordination of motor strategies are all addressed which have all shown to increase motivation along with self confidence and self-esteem.
Emotionally, there is nothing better for the inside of humans as the outside of a horse. Horses which are prey animals meaning they are vulnerable to predictors, have an uncanny sense of humans and healing. Self confidence that comes from Hippotherapy is astonishing. Belief in one's functional capabilities are heightened from the 1st ride.