Physio & Occupational Therapy

In Hippotherapy, the horse influences the rider rather than the rider influencing the horse. The rider is positioned on, and actively responds to the movement of the therapy horse. The therapist directs the movement of the horse, analyses the rider’s responses and adjusts the treatment accordingly.

The horse’s body and motion can stretch and relax the muscles, and riding can also help the rider to gain muscle tone and body strength and improve posture. As the horse moves the rider is constantly thrown off balance, requiring the rider’s muscles to contract and relax in an attempt to rebalance.

This exercising is similar to physiotherapy, reaching the deep muscles, but making the therapy more enjoyable and even fun! The three-dimensional rhythmic movement of the horse is similar to the motion of walking, teaching rhythmical patterns to the muscles of the legs and trunk. By placing the rider in different positions on the horse (therapeutic riding) different muscles are worked. Stopping and starting the horse as well as changing the speed and direction increases the benefits. Although not generally a focus of therapeutic riding, when muscle tone and strength are improved, there is often a resulting improvement in respiration and even speech

A trained therapist/coach team is essential to ensure safe and effective therapy and that the horse used for Hippotherapy must be carefully selected and trained to behave in a consistently calm manner and to produce the necessary stimulating movements.

Click here to access the RDAQ Hippotherapy Brochure.