Hippotherapy Essay

1179 words - 5 pages

AUTHOR Debbie Holmes - PAGE 3-
Debbie HolmesDr. G PardiBio16021 November 2008HippotherapyThe medical use of the horse, which addresses people with neuromotor dysfunction, is called Hippotherapy. This type of therapy is currently being used for a variety of medical conditions such as autism, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, and sensory processing disorders. However, hippotherapy is not for every patient and requires specially trained professionals to facilitate the safe and effective use of the horse. There are specific contraindications and precautions for some conditions and diagnosis that must be adhered to in order to insure the safety of the rider.Although many people associate this type of treatment with physical therapy, hippotherapy as a speech and language therapy strategy is becoming more common. Hippotherapy uses a horse to achieve conventional speech, language, cognitive, and swallowing goals. Carefully modulated, well cadenced equine movement offers a helpful means of addressing these deficits through the facilitation of the physiological systems that support speech and language function. Utilizing hippotherapy, appropriate sensory processing strategies integrated into the treatment plan assist in achieving successful communication goals.Hippotherapy DefinedHippotherapy literally means "treatment with the help of a horse" from the Greek word, "hippos" meaning horse. The American Hippotherapy Association, (AHA), has definedHippotherapy as a "term that refers to the use of the movement of the horse as a strategy by Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, and Speech-Language Pathologists to address impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities in patients with neuromusculoskeletal dysfunction. This strategy is used as part of an integrated treatment program to achieve functional outcome" (AHA 2000). In Hippotherapy, the horse influences the client rather than the client controlling the horse. The therapist or instructor directs the movement of the horse and analyzes the client's response.HistoryThe therapeutic value of horseback riding goes back centuries although the origin of organized therapeutic riding is a relatively new treatment option. In 1952, Liz Hartel of Denmark won the silver medal for Grand Prix dressage at the Helsinki Olympics. This is a grand achievement for any rider but for Liz it was extremely special because she suffered from Polio. Medical and equine professionals took notice and soon centers for therapeutic riding sprang up in Europe.Canadians and Americans studied what was happening in England and quickly made plans to start centers. Two of the first were the Community Association of Riding for the Disabled (CARD) in Toronto, Ontario, and the Cheff Center for the Handicapped in Augusta, Michigan. As interest spread to the states, a group of individuals got together in 1969 and formed the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association, (NARHA). This organization offers instructor training and...

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