The term hippotherapy refers to how occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech language pathology professionals use evidence-based practice and clinical reasoning in the purposeful manipulation of equine movement to engage sensory, neuromotor and cognitive systems to achieve functional outcomes. In conjunction with the affordances of the equine environment and other treatment strategies, hippotherapy is part of a patient’s integrated plan of care.
Hippotherapy differs from horseback riding and adaptive/therapeutic riding. The American Hippotherapy Association, Inc. (AHA) recommends the use of the term adaptive riding, in place of therapeutic riding, as it more accurately describes the activity, being consistent with other activities such as adaptive skiing, adaptive basketball, and adaptive swimming. Horseback riding is a recreational activity with the rider controlling the horse. Adaptive riding is a riding lesson adapted for individuals with special needs taught by specially trained instructors. This activity is recreationally based and goals may address leisure, education, socialization, competition in the sport, and fitness. It is not the goal of the instructor to rehabilitate, but rather to improve riding skills and quality of life through participation in an enjoyable activity.
Occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapy incorporating hippotherapy is completed by licensed therapists who have pursued specialty training. Hippotherapy is not a separate type of therapy; patients who have hippotherapy as part of their occupational, physical, or speech therapy plan of care are working on functional therapy goals, not horseback riding skills. The outcome measure for the patient is a change in functional performance across environments.
This informational meeting is for those interested in supporting Turtle Wing Foundation’s hippotherapy program which will be facilitated by the staff at Beyond Therapy. Anyone who might potentially volunteer for or invest in this program is invited to a brief gathering at Majek Vineyard and Winery (12508 FM 957, Schulenburg) at 6 PM on Thursday, November 15. Those planning to attend should RSVP to Susie Shank at Turtle Wing Foundation at (979)505-5090, firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to their Facebook page @turtlewingfoundation. Turtle Wing Foundation’s mission is “helping children with learning challenges in rural areas achieve their full potential”,serving children and families in Fayette, Colorado, Lavaca and surrounding counties. For more information visit www.turtlewingfoundation.org.