Friday, January 15, 2010

Autism Sensory Integration: Why Do You Need Hippotherapy?

Hyppotherapy provides a unique opportunity for children with Autism. They get the opportunity to practice a variety of skills. They also have the opportunity to develop character skills at the same time.

Hippotherapy can be provided by physical therapists or occupational therapists. Usually this type of therapy is provided to work on a variety of goals. These goals can include activities of daily living, safety skills, and strengthening. The gait of a horse is considered similar to human gait. Because of this similarity is provides strengthening and flexibility to the rider.

All of these and more goals are provided in relation to the skills used during horse riding and competition. That competition can include vaulting, barrel competition, showing, etc. All with the therapist, aides, and volunteers involved for safety and support.

Children with Autism also experience an increased sense of independence and mastery. Enhancing their self esteem at being able to control an animal as large as a horse is amazing. The change in children with disabilities changes obviously during the course of the therapy. The change is obvious on their face and in the way they handle their body.

Hippotherapy also gives a child and therapist a change in what they are doing from session to session. A change of scenery and a change of activities help provide renewed interest for both. Engaged interest in therapy is important to progressing.


  1. Hippotherapy is a treatment tool to achieve therapeutic objectives. It is NOT used for competition. You are thinking of therapeutic riding which is different.

  2. Hello Barb,
    Thanks for responding. I have children that have received hippotherapy. And yes of course there were therapeutic objectives. They also use what they learned and more from the therapist for the enjoyment of riding.