Bringing Hippotherapy to local children in St. Augustine, FL
Making Hippotherapy affordable for everyone.
Horseplay Therapy began when a local PT discovered the effectiveness of hippotherapy after trying it with some of her patients. The outcomes were so good, she felt like ALL kids should get to experience this kind of innovative therapy! But unfortunately therapy on a horse is expensive, and often too much for families to pay. It only made sense to create a non profit organization where money could be raised to help with the cost. The desire of the Horseplay Therapy organization is for as many kids as possible to experience therapy on the horse.
Our mission is to provide equine assisted physical, occupation, and speech therapy services to all children who would benefit, to improve their quality of life and help them to reach their highest potential.
Only specially trained licensed therapists can provide hippotherapy (integration of movement of the horse into a PT, OT, or ST session) and we have 5 of them and counting! This means we can help lots and lots of children through therapy on horseback!
Horseplay Therapy Center is not for profit, which means our focus is on meeting our patient’s needs and helping them reach their goals, and not on profits.
We have great weather here in Florida and we get to operate year round. The consistency of year round hippotherapy treatment helps our little ones continue to grow stronger and more independent every day!
We are first and foremost child focused! We are not an organization that adapted to provide services for children. We have always served children!
And finally, we asked Lori (one of our awesome moms) what makes Horseplay Therapy so special. She said that, “Grace doesn’t even know she is working hard, or even in therapy! She just thinks she gets to ride horses and play every week!”
“After Maliah started doing hippotherapy, she finally started saying her first words and taking her first steps.”
• Maliah’s mom
“Our daughter Kaelynn is 6 years old and has been participating in hippotherapy for a year and a half. We have seen results at home and at school that we were not seeing in the traditional therapy setting. Prior to starting hippotherapy, Kaelynn could walk and run but was uncoordinated, and had no fine motor skills. Over time we noticed that running became more natural for her, her hands became stronger, and she actually wanted to color, string beads, and cut with scissors. These things were super hard for her prior to starting hippotherapy. She is also better at following directions and concentrating to complete her tasks. The best part is that Kaelynn doesn’t even realize she is in therapy when she is on the horse. She’s just excited that she get to go horseback riding every Wednesday! I would highly recommend Horseplay Therapy to any parent who has a child with special needs!!”
• Kaelynn’s mom
“Ayana started with Next Step therapy one year ago at the young age of two. At that time Ayana was not speaking much and was showing some signs of sensory processing deficits. These behaviors included toe walking and other sensory seeking actions, covering her eyes and ears in social settings, and she was also distressed by leaving the confines of our home or being with anyone other than her parents. After just five months of hippo therapy at Horseplay Therapy, Ayana had shown dramatic improvements in her verbal communication, interpersonal communication with others, and we as parents were able to better assist her in coping behaviors outside of the home.
Through her work with Vicky and the other therapists at Horseplay Therapy, Ayana has had an opportunity to improve concentration, eye contact, body posture control and muscle relaxation, communication with others, and the ability to better express her needs and transition from one activity to the next. These improvements we have seen now over the course of one year have meant increased confidence in her abilities in her daily life and just so much joy. She has formed amazing relationships with Vicky, the other therapists, volunteers, other animals, and of course the horses at Horseplay Therapy; they are part of our family.
Ayana is truly such a compassionate little girl, with a love for all animals, a passion for arts and crafts, love for her family, and a big heart of gold. Next Step therapy has helped foster her ability to share her sweet personality with the world around her. Working with Vicky and the team of volunteers and therapists has truly been a blessing to our family and it’s hard to belief that Ayana was ever having the challenges she was at the initial stages of therapy when we started. We look forward to watching Ayana grow and continue to flourish with Vicky and her team.”
• Ayana’s mom
“Hippotherapy has helped Ana to have better posture and more strength in her core and hips and now she is starting to walk!”