Hippotherapy as a Treatment Tool

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Becker, Kaylyn
Suthers, Marie
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Hippotherapy as a Treatment Tool
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What is Hippotherapy? The professional treatment utilizing the horse, its movement, therapy activities and the natural environment to meet discipline-specific therapy goals. Currently offered by licensed occupational therapists, physical therapists, or speech therapists. What is the purpose of bringing horses into the rehabilitation process of physical therapy? Some may say it’s a fantasy for horse-crazy folks to live out their desires. Hippotherapy is not only a functional and realistic tool in the operations of rehabilitation and physical therapy, but it in fact, improves the process for patients and therapists in both experience and efficiency. The treatment sessions astride a horse offer a greater stimulatory and motivational environment for disabled peoples in both a physical and psychological realm. In addition, it provides an environment that will keep patients coming back for their therapy sessions with vigor, rather than treating it as a chore. Half of the improvements made in physical therapy are up to the willingness and application of the patient to pursue self-betterment. Research included will be pulled from “Enhancing Human Occupation Through Hippotherapy: A Guide for Occupational Therapy, 1st Edition, 2007.” Written by Barbara T. Engel and Joyce R. MacKinnon, with a PhD, OT, OTR and is a professor at the School of Occupational Therapy, University of Western Ontario. Research will also include information from a series of Hippotherapy books called The Brown Pony Series presented to and surveyed by the AHA national conference for the past 6 years by Rebecca Cook – a Hippotherapy Clinical Specialist with 20 years of private practice experience successfully combining both horses and people in therapy. The conclusive purpose of this research is to bring to light the evidence as well as the proper terminology in practice so to spread awareness of Hippotherapy as a legitimate tool for Physical therapists, Occupational therapists, and Speech Therapists in the state of Montana.
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Health Sciences