The Hippotherapy: Equine Movement

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Hippotherapy is “a physical, occupational or speech and language therapy treatment strategy that utilizes equine movement (“Hippotherapy,” n.d.)”. Children who are diagnosed with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, or Autism tend to have slower development in their motor functioning abilities. According to Silkwood-Sherer, Killian, Long and Martin (2012), the foreword walking motion of the horse allows the riders pelvis to move in a way which is similar to them actually walking. This allows the participant to build muscle in the correct places so that they can execute more correct and easier movements. Additionally, the participants are able to acquire better balance with their newly defined muscles, which allows them to partake in normal daily…show more content…
Children who are born with Down syndrome typically go through a series of different therapy sessions as they become older to help their motor functions and speech. There is no question that children who suffer from Down syndrome have obvious physical and mental impairments. Most commonly, these children have slowed motor development, which sets them behind normal children. This motor delay has been “characteristically associated with generalized muscle hypotonia and ligament laxity (Champagne & Dugas, 2010)”. Basically, these children have a significantly lower amount of muscle tone compared to people who are considered “normal”. With this in mind, it is crucial that these children receive therapy to help overcome their muscle atrophy and deficits in speech. According to the article Hippotherapy written by The Children’s TherAplay Foundation, Inc., it has been proven that hippotherapy for children over the age of two can have considerable therapeutic benefits (n.d.). On the contrary, others believe that conventional therapy, such as occupational and physical, is a key to helping children with Down syndrome overcome their…show more content…
To begin, horses are expensive animals and require a lot of care. All the time put into these animals comes with great reward, but also great expense. Therapeutic riding centers generally are non-profit so they require volunteers and donations, which sometimes can be hard to acquire. In addition to having and caring for horses, you also need a facility that the students can ride at year round. In some places, like Ohio, a facility that only has an outdoor arena might cause multiple cancellations due to weather. Indoor arenas are ideal, but they are not cheap to build and maintain. Furthermore, horses are animals that weigh over one thousand pounds and have a mind of their own. This means even a complete dead broke horse still thinks and moves on his own. This could potentially become a dangerous situation if the horse were to become spooked and take off or buck while the participant was in the middle of a session. If a student were to fall off during a session this could be a major setback in a participants therapy. In some cases, the student could even end up in worse shape from falling off the horse. This could cause a series of different problems and require other therapy sessions in extreme

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