Information taken from the American Hippotherapy Association's Website (www.americanhippotherapyassociation.org)
Why the Horse?The horse's walk provides sensory input through movement, which is variable, rhythmic, and repetitive. The resultant movement responses in the patient are similar to human movement patterns of the pelvis while walking. The variability of the horse's gait enables the therapist to grade the degree of sensory input to the patient, and then utilize this movement in combination with other treatment strategies to achieve desired results. Patients respond enthusiastically to this enjoyable experience in a natural setting.
Glossary of Terms:Therapeutic Riding: is a term that has been used for many years to encompass the variety of equine activities in which people with disabilities participate. Though still commonly used, this 'umbrella' term has caused confusion among the medical community. When the therapist utilizes the movement of the horse as a treatment strategy to improve neuromuscular function, it is important to consistently use the correct terminology and refer to it as "hippotherapy".
Hippotherapy: Hippotherapy is a physical, occupational, or speech and language therapy treatment strategy that utilizes equine movement. Hippotherapy literally means “treatment with the help of the horse” from the Greek word, “hippos” meaning horse. Specially trained physical and occupational therapists use this treatment for clients with movement dysfunction. In Hippotherapy, the horse influences the client rather than the client controlling the horse. The client is positioned on the horse and actively responds to his movement. The therapist directs the movement of the horse; analyzes the client s responses; and adjusts the treatment accordingly. This strategy is used as part of an integrated treatment program to achieve functional outcomes.
Horse Handler: The person in charge of the handling of the hippotherapy horse during the treatment session. This person should have extra training in handling horses specifically for hippotherapy.
***See the WICHITA FALLS RESOURCES tab for more information on Whispers of Hope Horse Farm for Hippotherapy in Wichita Falls*** http://whispersofhope.tripod.com