Our Projects



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 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 –  the aim is not to teach the child to ride. Hippotherapy can help achieve therapeutic goals such as developing muscle tone, increasing gross and fine motor skills, initiating linguistic patterns, and supporting sensory regulation.  Other effects on body systems can and do occur as well.


The Benefits of Hippotherapy

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 for hippotherapy.


Specific Benefits of Hippotherapy

  • Arousal and attention
  • Balance
  • Bilateral integration
  • Body awareness
  • Co-ordination
  • Dynamic Postural Stability
  • Endurance
  • Expressive and/or receptive speech and language
  • Fine & Gross Motor Skills
  • Midline orientation
  • Mobility of pelvis, spine and hip joints
  • Muscle Tone
  • Motivation
  • Oral Motor Function
  • Posture
  • Respiratory function
  • Self Confidence
  • Sensory Processing
  • Sequencing and Planning
  • Social Interaction
  • Symmetry and alignment


Hippotherapy Can Help Children With

  • ADHD
  • Abnormal Muscle Tone
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Chromosonal Abnormalities
  • Development Co-ordination Disorder (DCD/Dyspraxia)
  • Developmental Delay
  • Down Syndrome
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Sensory Processing Difficulties
  • Visual & Hearing Impairments


Our Vision

Hippotherapy is currently only offered by one other service provider in Ireland, at a centre in Cork. Our occupational therapist Laura Kelly has travelled to the USA during the summer of 2018 to complete specialist training in Hippotherapy. In line our vision for clinical excellence, hippotherapy is the most recognised form of equine therapy. Through the use of hippotherapy, we hope to enable more children to achieve their goals.  We plan to start this new service in August/September 2018.

How You Can Help Support This Project

We are seeking Corporate Fundraising Partners to support our Hippotherapy project. If you would like to discuss further please contact Rhoda Bermingham, Development Manager, at 086 8293592 or email Rhoda@sensationalkids.ie or


Give a Monthly Donation

Download our Standing Order Form

Volunteer Your Time

We are seeking side walkers and experienced horse handlers to help facilitate our hippotherapy sessions which will be led by our specially trained occupational therapist. If you are interested please email Laura@sensationalkids.ie