Hippotherapy is a treatment approach conducted by a licensed physical therapist, occupation therapist, or speech therapist. Therapists use the horse, it's movement, and warmth as a tool in therapy sessions. Therapists address client’s goals as they would in a hospital, rehabilitation center, or outpatient center.
The horse’s walk is very similar to the walking pattern of the human and thus facilitates the same pelvic and leg movements of the human walk. In one 30-minute session participants experience an average of 3,600 repetitions of this movement. Hippotherapy sessions focus on improving gross motor skills, sensorimotor function, breath control etc.
These sessions are tailored to individual needs.
- Strengthens muscles
- Increases stamina
- Improves posture and fine motor skills
- Horse's movement facilitates the same pelvic and leg movement of the human walk
- Increases memory, comprehension and concentration by challenging cognition and communication skills
- The horse "teaches" respect, patience, attention, and focus
- Replaces therapy burnout with enthusiasm
- Empowers riders and helps them build self-esteem
- Encourages and promotes social interactions between fellow riders and instructors
Therapists and equines are trained to work with a variety of special needs including but not limited to:
- Developmental delays
- Down syndrome
- Cerebral palsy
- Multiple sclerosis
- Muscular dystrophy
- Spina bifida
- Traumatic brain injury
- Visual and hearing impaired
- Severe depression and anxiety
Presently New Heights has one occupational therapists serving our participants. Participants must be two years or older to participate in hippotherapy. For more information please review the rider’s application packet or call our office (985)796-4600. If you are in need of financial assistance please complete our scholarship application and return it to our office.