Hippotherapy techniques

Therapy_horses_Svitani (2)The result of a child´s proper hippotherapy initial evaluation is defining short and long-term treatment goals that lead to the maximum therapy effect. It is necessary, that the therapist is able to combine competently below listed hippotherapy techniques in a ratio to fulfil the treatment goals. Otherwise, hippotherapy treatment may result in a negative pathological therapy impact, which should be avoided. The multidisciplinary knowledge of these techniques puts high demands on the therapist´s expertise and it is based on the ability of interdisciplinary communication and lifelong learning.

Hippotherapy techniques:

  • choosing a horse;
  • using the horse;
  • choosing therapy positions;
  • correcting therapy positions.

Choosing a horse

Because the hippotherapy effect depends on the therapist´s ability to exploit the horse potential as a therapeutic tool, it is necessary to extend his/her expertise in hippology. The therapist does not only evaluate the child and prepares the treatment plan, but he/she must be able to define all requirements for dynamic characteristics of a horseback – the therapeutic board.

A therapist with a horse trainer cooperates together on these tasks:

  • selecting suitable equines with regard to the composition of the clientele,
  • consulting and modifying horse training and its education.

The selection of the particular horse for the particular child is determined by the child´s treatment plan and goals.Therapy_horses_Svitani (3) Specific dynamic characteristics of the horseback (balance board) are defined by proportions of each organ of the horse musculoskeletal system and its mutual combining (e.g. the ratio of the shoulder length and slope to the neck length, the croup slope and musculature etc.). The horse´s fitness and the degree of its physical education define the characteristics as well.

A therapy horse selection technique is based on these criteria:

  • horse body frame (height and length),
  • width of the horseback,
  • quality of horse´s gait (step length and frequency).
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