|Therapeutic Riding, Driving and Hippotherapy
I sometimes use the horse's movement as a treatment tool in my physical
therapy practice. I am a Hippotherapy Clinical Specialist and a PATH Intl
registered therapist and therapeutic Riding instructor.
I am currently conducting equine assisted physical therapy sessions at Loudoun
Therapeutic Riding at Morven Park in Leesburg (www.ltrf.org) in the Spring and
the Fall. I will be happy to discuss how it might be helpful to you or your child.
Below is a brief summary of what the different terms mean. For an in depth look
at the field of hippotherapy, consult the website of the American Hippotherapy
Association (American Hippotherapy Association).
For more information on therapeutic riding/driving, consult the website for the
Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship Intl at www.pathintl.org.
What is Hippotherapy?
Hippotherapy is only used by physical therapists, occupational therapists and
speech therapists. It uses the movements of the horse as a means to achieve
their treatment goals. It is tailored to the goals and needs of the patient, and
uses horse leaders and side walkers. The goal is never to learn how to ride, but
to take advantage of the unique type of movement a horse provides to improve
the patient's outcomes . It is often used to help children with cerebral palsy
learn how to become more flexible, or to use their back better, etc...
What is Therapeutic riding?
It is horse back riding adapted to the rider's abilities. The adaptation are
varied, helping everything from physical impairments, to mental challenges, and
anything you can think of. A certified Therapeutic riding instructor typically
tailors the lessons to the rider's abilities, using horse leaders and side walkers
when necessary. The goal being to create a lesson that is fun, challenging and
safe for the rider, the horse and the side walkers. The horse leader and side
walkers are typically volunteers without whom the Therapeutic riding programs
would not exist.
What is Therapeutic driving?
It is horse and carriage driving tailored to the abilities of the driver.
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