“Hippo” is the Greek word for horse, so hippotherapy is “therapy with the help of the horse”. The horse’s movement is utilized by physical, occupational and speech therapists as a means to help clients work toward their therapy goals in a fun, active and motivating environment. Windridge and Kidz First Therapy collaborate efforts to provide hippotherapy to children with a wide variety of diagnoses.
Hippotherapy is provided three days a week by Kidz First Therapy and Windridge. The therapists are American Hippotherapy Association Level I and II certified therapists and/or board certified Hippotherapy Clinical Specialists (HPCS). They are supported by Windridge’s PATH International certified instructors and volunteers. The horses are specifically trained and selected for use in this program, as well as for each child.
Unlike in the therapeutic riding program, equestrian skills are not a focus in hippotherapy. It is simply therapy that uses the unique movement of the horse as a treatment strategy. The repetitive three-dimensional movement influences multiple systems throughout the body (neurological, muscular, cardiovascular, sensory, respiratory, emotional, visual, etc.) at the same time, making hippotherapy a powerful and effective strategy.
It has been proven that a horse takes approximately 3,000 steps at the walk in 30 minutes. This means a child can receive 3,000 repetitions of natural therapeutic movement that cannot be duplicated in any other traditional therapy setting. Additionally, positions and activities directed by the therapists help optimize the effects of the movement specifically for each child’s needs.