Harnessing the therapeutic power of horses

By Cindy Atoji Keene VIA The Boston Globe

“I first heard of hippotherapy when I was in college studying physical therapy and went to volunteer at a facility close by to see what it was all about. I found that there are many reasons horses are so therapeutic, especially for children. Animals are nonthreatening, nonjudgmental, and give unconditional love.

“The three-dimensional movement of the horse’s pelvis closely mimics what our pelvis should be doing in walking, not to mention the strength and balance gained from keeping an upright posture on a dynamic surface. These translate into improvements in functional mobility, with increases in strength, respiration, and even speech production. We may turn the child backwards or sideways to ride; they may ride on their hands and knees. They all work on fine motor, attention, visual-perceptual tasks.

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