The term hippotherapy is derived from the Greek word "hippos" for horse and literally means treatment with the help of a horse. It is a medical treatment tool used by physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech/language pathologists. Treatment is provided in a child-centered environment on an individual basis.
The horse produces three-dimensional rhythmic, repetitive movements which research has shown closely simulates the movements of the human pelvis while walking. This movement, along with the warmth generated from the horse is used as a therapeutic tool to facilitate the client's individual therapy goals and promotes many benefits, such as:
Development of balance
Increased vocalization/improved articulation
Improved sensory awareness/processing
Improved attention to task
Relaxation of spastic muscles
Strengthening of weak muscles