For this Therapy Thursday, I thought I would write about our experiences with hippotherapy and therapeutic horseback riding. My son has been a client of both hippotherapy and therapeutic horseback riding. Both have been good for him. They have each provided him with different benefits at different times in his life.
What is the difference between hippotherapy and therapeutic riding?
Hippotherapy provides therapy services (PT, OT, and/or Speech) on horse. The focus is on the therapy. It is not riding instruction. Our insurance paid for this.
Therapeutic riding is focused on teaching riding skills. Although there can be therapeutic benefits, there isn't a therapy focus.
S joined our family when he was 4, and we lived in Alabama. The Special Education team at his school told us that the PT who had the contract to serve the school also had a private clinic which provided PT, OT, and Speech. This clinic had a traditional clinic setting in which play was emphasized for the children to work on their skills, and they also used hippotherapy.
This was amazing for S! He was a client there for 3 years. For a young child who is going to therapy twice a week for 2 hrs/visit, what a great opportunity! He had PT at both visits, OT at one visit, and Speech at the other visit.
Twice a week he did hippotherapy for part of his visit, and the other time was in the clinic. They rotated which service was done as hippotherapy. The team he worked with was amazing!
S is in his sixth year of therapeutic riding. We have a friend who used to volunteer at the facility S rides at now. She had been telling us for a couple of years prior to S starting there about the program. He kept saying he wasn't going to do therapy on horse. It took a while for him to realize that they were going to teach him riding skills. He said he would try it, but he was NOT going to do therapy on horse!
The staff at the facility laughed at this. He was right. He wouldn't be doing therapy on horse; however, he would definitely get some therapeutic benefits from riding. Long story short, he loves it!
For S, both hippotherapy and therapeutic riding have been beneficial. He had each service at the right time in his life with the right people.
You will find me on the couch with chocolate and fond memories of good times and good people in our lives.
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