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What is therapeutic riding & hippotherapy

TR is one of the most effective rehabilitation methods and process which utilizes the horse as a medium between the disabled person and the therapist. Its goal an focus is the overall improvement of the individual s daily quality of life. Therapists and scientists working in this field have mapped out three basic areas included in the practice of TR:

  • physiotherapy and occupational therapy (Hippo therapy)
  • special education, psychology and speech therapy
  • horse-back riding especially designed for the handicapped.

These 3 areas though seemingly separate, work in combination in a TR session as disabled individuals are in need of at least both (a) and (b) and they are combined so as to suit individual needs. For example hippotherapy is a combination of physiotherapy and occupational therapy techniques carried out on horse back and used for children who suffer from neurological problems, CP being the most common one. The children can begin at 12 months of age after consultation with their physician.

Hippo therapy itself uses an array of techniques to handle each child's or adult s special needs. Back-riding is a widely used method: the therapist rides on the horse, sitting exactly behind the patient, supporting the back, neck and head in an up-right position, keeping the pelvis straight and helping with overall balance while also talking to the person to calm and make him/her feel more comfortable.

 
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