Therapeutic riding is a form of physiotherapy treatment using the horse as a therapeutic tool. Equine movement provides multidirectional motion which is variable, rhythmic, and repetitive. The horse provides a dynamic base of support as a tool for improving trunk strength and control, balance, overall strength and endurance, and motor planning. Movement generated by the horse replicates the sensory input and motor output of the human pelvis during walking. Therefore, it can be beneficial to those that are wheelchair bound or have an abnormal gait pattern as it can assist in strengthening the appropriate muscles and training the motor responses related to walking.
Therapeutic riding can be beneficial for those with neuromusculoskeletal dysfunction including cerebral palsy, developmental delay, learning disabilities, muscular dystrophy,multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, and stroke.
Therapeutic riding can help by normalizing abnormally high or low muscle tone, improving balance reactions, improving coordination, improving sensory motor function, correcting postural asymmetry, improving postural control, and improving joint mobility. Therapeutic riding also has psychological benefits, including improved mood, sense of achievement, and the opportunity to form a bond with a large animal.
Therapeutic riding is not suitable for those with uncontrolled seizure disorders or seisures without aura. At this time we are unable to accommodate larger children or adults that are unable to climb three steps onto the mounting block. Smaller children that are unable to manage the steps may be lifted onto the pony by the parents or theapist.
Ontario Therapeutic Riding Association
Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association
American Hippotheapy Association