The Principles of Hippotherapy (the use of a horse to obtain desired patient response) include:

  • The horse’s movement promotes active responses in the patient.
  • Variations in the horse’s movement, as directed by the therapists, promote variations in the patient’s response.
  • Patient responses are intended to affect function.

Specific Benefits of Hippotherapy include:

  • Balance strategies
  • Belief in one’s functional capabilities
  • Bilateral integration
  • Body awareness
  • Circulation
  • Dynamic postural stability
  • Endurance
  • Midline orientation
  • Mobility of pelvis, spine, and hip joints
  • Modification of muscle tonus
  • Muscle strength
  • Musculoskeletal alignment
  • Neuromotor function
  • Posture
  • Problem-solving movement strategies
  • Respiratory function
  • Self-confidence
  • Sensorimotor integration
  • Symmetry and alignment
  • Timing and coordination of motor strategies

From AHA, Inc. Hippotherapy Treatment Principles Level I Manual, copyrighted 2015 5th edition.