Age, otherwise, healthy

Impact of hippotherapy for balance improvement and flexibility in elderly people.

Dinaz L, de Mello E, Riberio M, Lage J et al

Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies (2020) 


The decrease in functional ability, strength, balance, flexibility, agility, and coordination owing to neurological and muscular changes is one of the characteristic features of the human aging process. Hippotherapy has been highlighted as a therapeutic approach with physical and psychological benefits for this section of the population. However, the effects of hippotherapy in elderly people need to be further studied by assessing their balance and flexibility.


The HG demonstrated a significant difference in the TUG test execution time and the FRT scores before and after the hippotherapy sessions (p = 0.036, p = 0.030, respectively), indicating an improvement in functional range. The examination of flexibility with the Wells's box also revealed a significant difference in the rates (cm) before and after 10 sessions of the hippotherapy for the HG (p = 0.033).

Conclusions from This Review

Statistically significant improvements in the TUG and FRT scores in the intervention group as compared to the control group. No difference in the BBS in either group; varied equine movement may benefit active and relatively healthy older people.