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HIPPOTHERAPY


The American Hippotherapy Association defines hippotherapy as a treatment that uses the multidimensional movement of the horse. Hippotherapy literally means “treatment with the help of the horse” from the Greek word, “hippos” meaning horse.


In Hippotherapy, the horse influences the client rather than the client controlling the horse. The horse's walk provides sensory input through movement which is variable, rhythmic and repetitive. The resultant movement responses in the client are similar to human movement patterns of the pelvis while walking.

Treatment takes place in a controlled environment where graded sensory input can elicit appropriate adaptive responses from the client. Specific riding skills are not taught (as in therapeutic riding), but rather a foundation is established to improve neurological function and sensory processing. This foundation can then be generalized to a wide range of daily activities.

Clients respond enthusiastically to this enjoyable learning experience in a natural setting. Physically, hippotherapy can improve balance, posture, mobility and function. Hippotherapy may also affect psychological, cognitive, behavioral and communication functions for clients of all ages.

General Indications for Hippotherapy:

Medical Conditions
· Autism Spectrum Disorder
· Cerebral Palsy
· Developmental Delay
· Genetic Syndromes
· Learning Disabilities
· Sensory Integration Disorders
· Speech-Language Disorders
· Traumatic Brain Injury
· Stroke

Impairments
· Abnormal muscle tone
· Impaired balance responses
· Impaired coordination
· Impaired communication
· Impaired sensorimotor function
· Postural asymmetry
· Poor postural control
· Decreased mobility
· Limbic system dysfunction related
  to arousal and attentional skills

Hippotherapy is not for every client. Each potential client must be evaluated on an individual basis by specially trained health professionals.

The person in charge of handling the hippotherapy horse during the treatment session should have extra training in handling horses specifically for hippotherapy. Dream a Dream Therapeutic Horsemanship works with Trish Honda, a licensed physical therapist trained in hippotherapy, to offer this service.

Trish Honda grew up in New Orleans, LA and attended Louisiana State University, earning her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology in 1993. Following a horseback riding accident in 1997 where she received extensive physical therapy, she made a career change and completed her Master of Science degree in Physical Therapy from Texas State University in 2001, followed by certification as a personal trainer from the National Academy of Sports Medicine in 2003.

Since completing her degree in physical therapy, Trish has worked in acute care and longterm care in the Austin, Cedar Park and Georgetown areas. In 2007, Trish combined two of her passions, horses and physical therapy, and completed her Level I Hippotherapy certification. In addition to working with Dream a Dream Therapeutic Horsemanship, Trish trains in dressage in her personal time.

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