Hippotherapy utilizes the three dimensional movement of the horse to improve balance, strength, coordination, and postural symmetry in those with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, or related neuromuscular disorders. The forward, side-to-side, and rotational movement of the horse provides the rider with different sensory cues to help improve gait. While this therapy is a passive exercise for the patient, the individual must engage the core muscles to sit upright along with making small corrections due to the constant movement of the horse to help with postural stability and strengthening. Ultimately, understanding how affected brain areas lead to symptoms in those with CP and MS, innovative therapies can be utilized such as hippotherapy to help improve balance, strength, coordination, and postural symmetry along with aspects of self confidence.
Long, Sarah A.
"Hippotherapy as a Tool for Improving Motor Skills, Postural Stability, and Self Confidence in Cerebral Palsy and Multiple Sclerosis,"
Sound Neuroscience: An Undergraduate Neuroscience Journal:
1, Article 19.
Available at: http://soundideas.pugetsound.edu/soundneuroscience/vol1/iss1/19