What is Hippotherapy?
Before we outline the main benefits of hippotherapy, let’s take a look at the nitty-gritty of the concept itself.
Hippotherapy is a special treatment method based on the psychological and physical impact on the patient through horse riding. In fact, in hippotherapy classes, the child performs a specially prepared set of exercises on horseback. There are no absolute contraindications for hippotherapy, and even a one-year-old kid may be a rider!
How It Works
For classes with the most difficult children, various methods are used, including perceiving the heat of the horse’s body and his rhythmic vibrations, as well as close communication with the companion. For less severely affected patients, this is only the first stage. The next step is children are being taught the basics of controlling a horse, and then horseback riding.
After these two stages, the most mentally and physically stable patients move on to therapeutic riding – horse riding, when the kid intensively takes part in the activity. And the highest level is horseback riding, according to a program adapted for disabled people, along with participation in show performances and even competitions.
While your kid is riding a horse, they should wear safety gear that protects them from various injuries. The garment includes headgear, knee and elbow pads. You can check out kids riding helmets review at Horsezz to pick the best riding gear for your children.
The benefits of Hippotherapy for Children
There is no secret that hippotherapy is used to treat many diseases, such as cerebral palsy, autism, spinal cord injuries, neurological and mental disorders. However, hippotherapy will also be extremely useful for absolutely healthy children, and here’s why. Horse riding has a beneficial effect on the overall physical condition of the kid. Thus, there’s a bunch of perks when riding a horse:
- Blood circulation improving. This is due to the fact that the muscles of the horse’s back have a massaging and warming effect when he moves (the body temperature of the animal is a bit higher than ours).
- Posture and coordination refining. Staying in the saddle is not as easy as you might think. To do this, you need to use a variety of muscle groups.
- Fine motor skills development. You should grip well to sit on a seat properly.
- Endurance increasing. Horse riding requires great stamina to be able to ride for long.
- Besides, outdoor activities have a beneficial effect on the lungs.
Moreover, the advantages of hippotherapy lie not only in harmonious physical development. As we have already mentioned, the psychological aspect also plays a crucial role.
Hippotherapy classes help reduce anxiety, overcome isolation, and make new friends among humans and animals. In addition, during hippotherapy, children not only sit on the horse but also take care of them: kids take them to the stable, comb their manes. All of these, for its part, teach the child how to be caring and responsible for their actions.
It is not recommended to take up hippotherapy for those who have malignant hypertension, acute thrombophlebitis, trophic ulcers, herniated discs, instability of the spine, imbalance, and those who have recently suffered a stroke or heart attack.
Doctors also recommend abandoning this method for inflammatory diseases of the urinary system, prostate gland, gynecological diseases in the acute stage, acute diseases of internal organs, hemophilia, the fragility of bones. And of course, those who are allergic to an animal or an overwhelming fear of it should resort to this method with the utmost caution. Watch your kid attentively to check if their condition is not getting worse for other reasons.
Horses are amazing companions! Communication with them helps relieve stress, gives a bunch of positive emotions, and develops children’s interest in the world around them. Furthermore, it is also a new pleasant tactile sensation for the kid.
Therefore, you should try to take your child to the racetrack. We are pretty sure they will be obsessed with this brand-new activity!