A place to show my love for my granddaughter who lives with Cerebral Palsy and my passion for painting. In an effort of raising awareness for C.P. every painting brush stroke I make on raw canvas is a stroke of love, as I discretely paint a green C.P. awareness ribbon in every piece. Can you find them?
Do you know someone who would like to have a painting done? email www.harrold.janet@gmail.com

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hailey's first Hippotherapy session!

So today was Hailey’s first hippotherapy lesson! We had been slightly anxious about how she was going to react. If Hailey doesn’t like something or doesn’t want to do it, her scream can be quite piercing. We really wanted her first lesson to be a good experience. We had our first visit to the stables earlier this spring, Hailey seemed to love the horses, but of course seeing them and riding them are two totally different experiences. Natalie had also been preparing her all week by showing her videos and pictures of children riding horses. I think the combination of the two really helped because Hailey did awesome!

A lot of my family and friends still don’t quite understand what hippotherapy is, so I took this off of The Bridge Centers web site. I hope it helps.
After you learn more about hippotherapy, head on over to read the article I wrote for Windrush Farm about how horses help with other disabilities as well.

About Hippotherapy
What is hippotherapy?
Hippotherapy is a physical, occupational and speech therapy treatment strategy that utilizes equine movement. The word “hippotherapy” literally means “treatment with the help of the horse” from the Greek word “hippos” meaning horse. Specially trained physical and occupational therapists use this treatment for individuals with movement dysfunction as part of an integrated treatment program to achieve functional outcomes.
In a controlled hippotherapy environment, the horse influences the rider rather than the rider controlling the horse. The rider is positioned on the horse and actively responds to his movement. The therapist directs the movement of the horse, analyzes the rider’s responses, and adjusts the treatment and horse’s movement accordingly. Specific riding skills are not taught (as in other therapeutic horseback riding programs), but rather a foundation is established to improve neurological function and sensory processing. This foundation can be generalized to a wide range of daily activities.
The unique nature of hippotherapy allows the rider to engage in activities on the horse that are enjoyable and challenging.
Why the horse?
A horse's walk and gait provides movement (or “sensory input”) that is variable, rhythmic, and repetitive. The resulting responses from the rider are similar to human movement patterns of the pelvis while walking. The therapist can observe and grade the degree of sensory input to the rider, and then utilize this movement in combination with other treatment strategies to achieve desired results. Riders respond enthusiastically to this enjoyable experience in a natural setting.
What are the benefits of hippotherapy?
Impairments that may be modified with hippotherapy include:
• Abnormal tone
• Impaired balance responses
• Impaired coordination
• Impaired communication
• Impaired sensorimotor function
• Postural asymmetry
• Poor postural control
• Decreased mobility
• Limbic system function related to arousal, motivation, and attention
Functional limitations that may be improved with hippotherapy:
• Gross motor skills such as sitting, standing, walking
• Speech and language abilities
• Behavioral and cognitive abilities
Who performs hippotherapy?
Therapists who perform hippotherapy are actually physical, occupational or speech therapists. Hippotherapy is the treatment strategy used by these skilled practitioners to achieve functional outcomes.
Does the therapist work alone with the rider?
Therapists performing hippotherapy normally work with a horse handler. This individual is charge of the handling of the horse during the treatment session. The handler has received extra training in handling horses specifically for hippotherapy.
How is a hippotherapy session different from Therapeutic Riding?
Therapeutic Riding is a general overall term that has been used for many years to encompass the variety of equine activities in which people with disabilities participate. When a therapist specifically utilizes the movement of the horse as a treatment strategy to improve neuromuscular function it is referred to as "hippotherapy


  1. This is so exciting! How smart of Natalie to prepare Hailey for her lesson by showing her videos and pictures. Please keep us posted!

  2. Will do Susan, thank you for your loyalty to my blog and for always commenting, I get so much traffic on my blog but very few comments. Not sure why that is.