The Core Connection

In this course, we explore the concept that there is an inevitable connection between Hippotherapy and the horse’s influence on the Core.  We will look at the immediate connection between postural control and the functional improvements we are looking for in patients from a PT, OT, Speech or a trans-disciplinary focus.  This AHA one-day course is open to all PT OT and SLP’s and their licensed therapy assistants who use Hippotherapy as a treatment tool; intended as an advanced course following the AHA Level l & II curriculum.  Lecture, video and discussion will guide us to explore these very key Core Concepts and Connections.  The curriculum may be utilized only under conditions set forth by AHA, Inc.

Intended Audience:

PT’s, PTA’s, OT’s, COTA’s, SLP’s, SLPA’s who incorporate hippotherapy into their patients plan of care.

Pre-Requisites: AHA Inc. Hippotherapy Treatment Principles – Part 1 & Part 2. Please send copy of certificate with registration

Topics that will be covered include:

  • Terminology related to Core Stabilization.
  • The neurophysiologic basis of Core Stabilization (sensory and motor control required for Core Stability) and the basic developmental process which leads to Core Stability.
  • Common conditions in which Core Stability is impaired and the clinical manifestations
  • Common indicators of poor Postural Control and reduced Core Stability as related to impaired function.
  • Human function and the influence by Core Postural Control using Dynamic Systems Theory.
  • Influence of equine movement on the Core – sensory and motor.
  • Impacting function of the Core using equine movement.
  • Specific strategies for impacting function through the Core using equine movement.
  • The influence of the core and its impact on the domains of human function.
  • POC options using Hippotherapy to improve patient function related to Core Stability.
  • Human Core and the Horses Core

Learning Outcomes 

  • Learners will be able to identify and recite the research and clinical markers that can be observed for normal core control.
  • Learners will be able to compare and identify the impairments seen clinically that contribute poor core control for PT, OT and SLP treatment.
  • Learners will be able to describe the principles of hippotherapy and how it relates to improving core control with strategies implemented in a PT, OT, SLP treatment using the ICF model.
  • Learners will identify the interaction of the horse’s core and the human core as applied using hippotherapy principles and application addressed in clinical treatment through video case analysis.
  • Learners will demonstrate their understanding of the principles of movement in treatment addressing balance and postural control and identifying the rationale for 2 treatment strategies, per discipline that can be addressed in a patient’s plan of care.
  • Learners will explain the connection in core instability in various patients are addressed in hippotherapy by clinical problem solving and addressing the elements of core stability.
  • Learners will be able to list 3 examples of how to implement hippotherapy into a plan of care with the AHA Best Practice Guidelines

This is a one-day course 9:00AM to 4:00PM


9:00am     Registration & Introductions
9:15am     Objectives and Learning Outcomes
9:30am     Definitions- HPOT /Core/ Discussion
10:00am   Functional Anatomy Muscles- posture, mvmt, respiration Soft Tissue /Skeletal/ CNS/ Development
10:45am    BREAK
11:00am    Core Impairments /Core Control VIDEO function of pt.- class discussion of core contributions and function
11:30am    How and Why Hippotherapy  impacts the core?  Systems approach why hippotherapy impacts the core
12:00pm   LUNCH
1:00pm     The Horses Core- Why does it matter?  How to improve it VIDEO of good and  poor quality movement
2:00pm    BREAK
2:15pm     How to enhance the core in hippotherapy
3:15pm     Human and Horse Core
4:00pm    Wrap Up & Conclusion


Course Faculty:

  • Joann Benjamin, PT, HPCS
  • Ruth Dismuke- Blakely, CCC, SLP, HPCS