What is Hippotherapy?
Hippotherapy literally means treatment with the help of a horse, from the Greek word ‘hippo’ meaning horse. The American Hippotherapy Association (AHA) has defined hippotherapy as “a term that refers to the use of the movement of the horse as a strategy by Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, and Speech-Language therapists to address impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities”. The therapist will use activities on the horse that are meaningful to the individual and will specifically address their functional goals. Goals are function oriented, and the aim is not to teach the child to ride. Positive effects from the movement of the horse can be seen in motor coordination, muscle tone, postural alignment, stiffness/flexibility and strength. Other effects on body systems can and do occur as well. Changes are often seen in the respiratory, cognitive, sensory processing, balance, affective, arousal and speech/language production functions. Hippotherapy provides 3 dimensional movement to the client and this has a profound effect on many of the systems including; motor, musculoskeletal, nervous, respiratory, circulatory, sensory processing, speech and language and cognition. Horses are specially selected for their movement to be deemed suitable to deliver hippotherapy
Hippotherapy is currently only provided in Ireland by one other service provider in Ireland, at a centre in Cork. Our occupational therapist Laura Kelly has travelled to the USA this summer to start specialist training in Hippotherapy to enable Sensational Kids to offer this service to children with additional needs. Our goal is to start his new service in January 2018 following specialised training and work experience in the USA.
We are seeking donations to support our Hippotherapy project. If you would like to support our hippotherapy project please phone us on 045 520900 or