Physical Therapy – Hippotherapy
Healing Reins has partnered with Georgia Merrifield to offer a Physical Therapy (Hippotherapy) program. Hippotherapy is a treatment approach that uses the movement of the horse to enhance neuromotor function and sensory processing. The physical therapist directs the movement of the horse; analyzes the client’s response; and adjusts the treatment accordingly. The goals of classic hippotherapy are to improve the client’s posture, balance, mobility, and function. Disabilities that may benefit from hippotherapy include cerebral palsy, cerebral vascular accident, traumatic brain injury, functional spinal curvatures and sensory integrative dysfunction. Clinical problems that can be effectively treated by hippotherapy include abnormal muscle tone, abnormal reflexes, flexible postural asymmetries, impaired postural control, impaired balance responses, impaired coordination, and decreased mobility.
Clients as young as 2 years of age are eligible for the Hippotherapy program, which is usually covered by medical insurance as physical therapy.
“Naomi has gained strength in so many ways. Her walking has improved so much since beginning Hippotherapy. She loves the horses and it is so much easier for her to stretch her body and work with the therapist while she’s on ‘Ciara.’ Naomi uses her voice and makes lots more sounds from the back of the horse. Healing Reins has wonderful staff and great people volunteering to help my daughter. Naomi loves being out here and really responds well to the farm setting.” – Naomi’s mom
“I have been using Hippotherapy as an adjunct to my physical therapy treatments for almost 20 years now and have been a member of the American Hippotherapy Association since its inception . Hippotherapy is a fun and effective treatment tool as the movement of the horse can be utilized to influence many systems of the body at once. The environment of the barn and its surroundings is so much more stimulating to a child or an adult that is dealing with a chronic disability and who has to receive multiple therapies usually in a clinical setting. It is emotionally invigorating for me to see a client’s face light up as soon as they enter the barn and see “their” horse waiting for them.” – Georgia Merrifield, PT, MS, HPCS