The Principles of Hippotherapy

  • The horse’s movement promotes active responses in the patient.
  • Variations in the horse’s movement, as directed by the therapists, promote variations in the patient’s response.
  • Patient responses are intended to affect function.

Specific Benefits of Hippotherapy

  • Arousal and attention
  • Balance strategies
  • Belief in one’s functional capabilities
  • Bilateral integration
  • Body awareness
  • Circulation
  • Dynamic postural stability
  • Endurance
  • Expressive and/or receptive speech and language
  • Midline orientation
  • Mobility of pelvis, spine, and hip joints
  • Modification of muscle tonus
  • Motivation
  • Muscle strength
  • Musculoskeletal alignment
  • Neurogenic bladder
  • Neuromotor function
  • Oral-motor function
  • Posture
  • Problem-solving movement strategies
  • Respiratory function
  • Self-confidence
  • Sensorimotor integration
  • Symmetry and alignment
  • Timing and coordination of motor strategies
From AHA, Inc. Hippotherapy Treatment Principles Level I Manual, copyrighted 2015 5th edition.