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HOW HIPPOTHERAPY HELPS WITH CEREBRAL PALSY

Cerebral Palsy is a condition caused by brain damage that can affect posture, movement, and cognition. Horseplay Therapy provides both traditional  physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy for little ones with cerebral palsy as well as Hippotherapy.  Each therapist uses the horse  to provide challenging, engaging, and enjoyable activities that improve muscle tone, posture, communication and language, and walking abilities.

How does Hippotherapy work in kids with cerebral palsy?

The horse’s movement is in a rhythmical pattern that provides sensory stimulation to the rider. It causes the rider’s hips and torso to move in the same rhythmical pattern as the horse’s.  The purpose of using hippotherapy to treat kids with cerebral palsy is  essentially to improve movement.  A horse steps with approximately the same frequency as  humans.  Hippotherapy promotes normal off -horse movement through training natural motor responses.

Benefits of Hippotherapy in kids with cerebral palsy include improvements in :

  • Strength
  • Core stability
  • Postural control (which helps with voice production and speech)
  • Gait (improved walking pattern and rhythm of steps)
  • Balance and Coordination
  • Range of Motion (due to the warmth of the horse)
  • Self confidence

 

Riding backwards helps to improve balance, strength, and postural control, which is really helpful for our little ones learning to walk.

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Feeling the softness of the horse and the texture of the saddle and pad help our kiddos connect with their horse.

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Kids don’t realize how hard they are working while they are riding. They just think they are playing at the barn!

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“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

“Hippotherapy has helped Ana to have better posture and more strength in her core and hips and now she is starting to walk!”

• Ana’s mom

Individual Results May Vary