The Neuro Connection: Incorporating Hippotherapy into the Treatment of the Patient with a Neurological Diagnosis

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

This course is a two-day course timeline is 8:30 to 5:00 each day.  With extensive use of patient videos, group discussion and problem solving, course participants will explore the theoretical and scientific rational and benefits for using hippotherapy as part of a comprehensive plan of care. Exploring the combination with other treatment strategies for specific neurological impairments such as: spasticity, impaired motor control and sensory deficits.

Please see approved faculty for this course at the bottom of this page.  Click on their name to link to a full bio and disclosures.

In addition, participants will discuss ways to incorporate principles of neuroplasticity and motor learning  and research into their treatment.

Topics to be covered:

  • Review of major relevant areas of CNS
  • Common impairments related to motor behavior and body systems – treating the whole patient
  • Theoretical and scientific rationale for treatment of a patient with a neurological impairment and its application
  • Applying principles of motor learning and neuroplasticity in hippotherapy
  • Clinical Problem Solving w/pt. VIDEOS with a neurological diagnosis

Learning Objective:   Occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech-language pathology professionals will explore the theoretical and scientific rational and benefits for including hippotherapy, skilled equine movement, as a treatment tool/strategy in a comprehensive plan of care in treating specific neurological impairments such as: spasticity, impaired motor control and sensory deficits.

Learning Outcomes: 

  • Learners will be able to identify and recite the theoretical and scientific rationale for treatment of patients with a neurological impairment in a PT, OT and SLP treatment
  • Learners will be able to compare and identify the central nervous system (CNS) primary motor system and associated impairments in body systems for PT, OT and SLP treatment
  • Learners will be able to describe the treatment strategies implemented in a PT, OT, SLP treatment to create a plan of care for a pt. with a neurological impairment and identify the relationship between body structure impairment and participation restriction using the ICF model
  • Learners will demonstrate application of the theoretical foundations, perspectives and research of the CNS and upper motor neuron (UMN) diagnoses addressed in clinical treatment through video case analysis.
  • Learners will demonstrate knowledge of the CNS in upper motor neuron impairment management, skilled intervention strategies including hippotherapy in a patient’s plan of care to describe treatment related to body structure impairment and participation restriction within the scope of their practice using the ICF Model.
  • Learners will successfully analyze client videos and identify clinical treatment approaches and models that address the body systems in patients with an UMN diagnosis as part of the plan of care.
  • Learners will demonstrate their understanding of the principles and application of motor learning and neuroplasticity 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 how dysfunction in the basal ganglia and cerebellum are addressed in clinical problem solving and treatment using motor learning principles and promoting neuroplasticity through written and video cases.
  • 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 two-day course 8:30 to 5:00 each day.


  DAY 1
8:30am Registration; Welcome and introductions
9:00am Theoretical Foundations and Perspectives
9:30am The Central Nervous System- Cerebral Cortex – Upper Motor Neuron Impairments and management
11:00am Break
11:15am Systems: vision, limbic, musculoskeletal
12:30pm Lunch Break
1:30pm Speech and language; balance; postural control
2:00pm Clinical treatment approaches
3:00pm Break
3:15pm Clinical Problem Solving
4:30pm Q and A
  DAY 2
 8:30am Questions and review
 9:00am Basal Ganglia / Cerebellum – Typical impairments and management
10:30am Break
10:45am Clinical Problem Solving w/ pt. VIDEOS
12:15pm Lunch Break
1:00pm Motor learning
2:00pm Promoting Neuroplasticity
3:00pm Research and Evidence Based Application

Wrap Discussion- Q &A


AHA, Inc. is an AOTA Approved Provider of continuing education. Provider #: 11414. Full attendance at this course qualifies for 14 contact hours or 1.4 CEUs in the Category of Domain of OT, Occupational Therapy Process, and Professional Issues . The assignment of AOTA CEUs does not imply endorsement of specific course content, products, or clinical procedures by AOTA. Course Level: Intermediate.


This program is offered for 1.4 ASHA CEUs(Intermediate level, Professional area).

 AHA Inc. is an Approved Provider for continuing education for PT, and PTA’s in New York, California and Rhode Island

Recorded attendance and completion of the course evaluation form is required prior to receipt of the course certificate of completion.

Certificates of attendance will be provided to attendees at the conclusion of the course.  Contact hours vary depending on the course.  No certification will be granted upon completion of an AHA, Inc. course.

A Certificate of Attendance will be provided.  Contact hours are 14

Cancellation  Policies:  AHA,  Inc. reserves the right to adjust course dates, times and faculty to accommodate unforeseen circumstances including cancellation of the course due to insufficient registration up to 3 weeks prior to the scheduled start date. Notification will only be made to advanced registrants. Neither AHA, Inc. nor the course location is responsible for any expenses incurred by registrants due to such adjustments.

Participant cancellation requests must be made in writing no less than 3 weeks prior to the  course start date to receive a refund, minus a $100 administrative fee. No refunds will be given for cancellations received within three weeks prior to the start of the course.

***Submitting the Registration Form is not a guarantee of course admission. Please do not make travel arrangements until you receive confirmation from the AHA, Inc. office

Faculty who are vetted to teach this course are:

You may read their bios and disclaimers by clicking on the individual’s name