Equine Movement (Hippotherapy)

What is Hippotherapy?

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 as a therapy tool to engage sensory, neuromotor and cognitive systems to promote functional outcomes. This tool is incorporated with other standard therapy tools and strategies to best address functional outcomes.” (American Hippotherapy Association, 2022)

Why Incorporate Equine Movement as a Treatment Tool?

Equine movement is precise, rhythmic, and repetitive, providing unique sensorimotor experiences, which can result in a systems wide impact in the following areas:

  • attention and arousal
  • coordination
  • body awareness
  • posture
  • receptive/expressive language
  • oral-motor function
  • cognitive linguistic functioning
  • timing and coordination of motor strategies
  • muscle strength
  • sensorimotor integration
  • and more! (American Hippotherapy Association, 2022)

Who Might Benefit From Hippotherapy?

Populations benefiting from incorporation of equine movement as a treatment tool may include individuals with autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, disorders of sensory processing, speech and language disorders, and more.