It is widely recognised that the interaction between people and horses has a powerful and varied benefit. The benefits are physical, mental, emotional and intellectual. Horses complement the work of many practioners, Physiotherapists, OT’s, Speech Therapist’s, Educationalists and Psychotherapists among others, use equine facilitated activity to enhance their work. The movement of the horse’s walk closely mimics the human walk. The horses walk stimulates and synthesises human walk making it a transformational treatment base. The scope for transferring learning from the horse’s environment to life skills acquisition is significant.
Interaction with a horse can include riding, carriage driving, vaulting and
The benefits of riding for people with
disabilities have been recognised for over three thousand years.
Physical disabilities ranging from cerebral palsy to accidental injury.
cognitive difficulties and disabilities, mental
illness, autism, developmental delay and emotional disorders have
all responded positively to equine facilitated activity. Individuals who are
unable to weight bear are often limited to swimming. Riding offers an effective
alternative to develop muscle tone and improve posture, with the added advantage
of the dynamics of the horses’ movement. The bond that develops between human
and horse also opens up many new opportunities, such as independence and
- Improvement in joint mobility, balance
- Changes in muscle tone
- Increased self-confidence through
- Improved learning, concentration,
- An incentive and opportunity to take responsibility and control
- The transfer of learning outcomes in an equine environment to daily living skills
- Motivation to set and achieve goals
Medical guidance and approval is essential for the
safety and protection of everyone involved. With few exceptions, persons with a
disability may safely and beneficially engage in a number of therapeutic
Hippotherapy is a medically prescribed procedure conducted by health