In hippotherapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy professionals use evidence-based practice and clinical reasoning in the purposeful manipulation of equine movement as a therapy tool to engage sensory, neuromotor, and cognitive systems to promote functional outcomes. Hippotherapy is integrated into the patient’s plan of care, along with other other therapy tools and/or strategies.  Treatment can begin at 2.5 years of age.  The weight limit for hippotherapy is 175 lbs. for a balanced rider, 150 lbs. for an unbalanced rider.  A Hippotherapy balanced rider has fair sitting balance and does not need upper extremity support or external support to maintain posture when the horse is moving.  This is subject to therapist/instructor’s discretion.

* This program is an 8 week commitment.  We do not offer single ride experiences.

Recommended by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, hippotherapy is a treatment strategy in which the movement of the horse is used by licensed occupational therapists and physical therapists.

Hippotherapy addresses a variety of impairments and limitations for achievement of functional outcomes for patients (2.5 years and older): cognitive, emotional/psychological, physical, sensory, as well as speech and language.

Why the horse?
The average horse walks at a rate of approximately 100 steps per minute. Just five minutes on a walking horse represents 500 neuro motor inputs to the patient. In a typical therapy session, 15 to 25 minutes of equine movement may be incorporated by the treating therapists, which may represent 1,500 to 2,500 neuromotor inputs to the patient.

Incorporating hippotherapy into an occupational therapy or physical therapy pathology session can serve as a powerful tool for the facilitation of the key neuromotor systems that support function. Skillfully applied equine movement, under the direction of a therapists, can offer the patient the opportunity for complex motor learning. Hippotherapy is combined with other standard therapy tools/strategies in an intervention plan designed to address the treatment needs of the patient.

Strength, muscle coordination, and sensory processing used for walking, talking, and the use of fine motor skills for activities of daily living and general attention to tasks have all been shown to be positively impacted by equine movement as a facilitation tool/strategy, when under the direction of a therapists, as part of a larger total plan of care. In addition, increased motivation and participation in treatment and social emotional benefits have been reported (American Hippotherapy Association).

Therapy room

Before participating, all patients must consult with their physician. PATH Intl. riding centers require each prospective patient to present a complete medical history and signed physician’s statement prior to a hippotherapy session (see Medical Form below). If you have any questions, please let us know.

New patients should first complete a Rider Information & Consent Form and a Medical Form and return via Secure Fax (number located on each form) or email to info@ctrhohio.org.  We will call you to schedule a pre-enrollment visit once the forms are received.  Acceptance in every program is based upon the visit, when it is determined which (if any) CTRH program is appropriate based on PATH, Intl. standards. If you have any questions, please call.

Each subsequent calendar year in which you participate, a Rider Information & Consent Form and a new Medical Form must be submitted prior to riding that year.

Please be advised that our classes are filled on a first come, first served basis each session.