At the end of January, our super therapist Laura N travelled down to Essex to be the first SLT to attend the CPTRH (Chartered Physiotherapists in Therapeutic Riding and Hippotherapy) Hippotherapy Course. Here we share details on what hippotherapy is and what she learnt on her recent training.
What is ‘Hippotherapy’?
Hippotherapy (‘Hippos’ is the Greek word for ‘horse’ so nothing to do with hippopotamuses!) is the use of a horse’s movement as a tool to help achieve therapy targets. It is used widely by Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists and Speech and Language Therapists in Europe and the US to work towards functional goals. A horse’s movement helps a child’s central nervous system to become more organised and helps to improve postural control, coordination, motor planning and sensory integration all of which helps with speech, language and communication.
Laura getting ‘hands on’ with hippotherapy
Following theory and practical tasks learning about horse conformation (bone and muscle structure and movement) and the effects of this on the child on board, Laura got ‘hands on’ during a therapy session to support a 4 year old boy with Cerebral Palsy to tell his pony Annie to ‘walk’ and ‘whoa!’ using sound buttons. It was incredible to see how the horse’s movement improved the boy’s head control enabling him to use nods and shakes of the head to communicate ‘yes’ and ‘no’.
Benefits of ‘Teletherapy’
Laura’s homework is to complete an assessment on her own horse, Jonjo, to evaluate his appropriateness for becoming a Hippotherapy horse.
We look forward to sharing more updates about Laura’s hippotherapy over the coming months.
Want to know more about hippotherapy?
If you’d like to know more about hippotherapy or if your child needs help with their speech, language or communication – we’d love to here from you!
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