Wednesday, July 18, 2007


This article by Eliza McGraw in the Washington Post offers a nice detailed description of hippotherapy - "which uses the natural movements of the horse as a tool for physical, occupational and sometimes speech therapy."

"Unlike therapeutic riding, which teaches people with special needs how to ride, hippotherapy (the name derives from the Greek word for "horse") focuses purely on the repetitive motion of the horse's walk, which mimics an average person's gait."

"Therapists may work with adults as well. But William Benda, an emergency physician and advocate of hippotherapy in Big Sur, California, is more enthusiastic about hippotherapy's effects on children than on adults. "The future benefit is much greater for the 4-year-old than a 40-year-old," he says. 'Injury to the brain is static, but the function worsens over time. Children's bodies have to grow around an asymmetrical disability, and they get worse. So we try to catch them as early as possible.' "

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