Galvin Therapy Center is providing hippotherapy at Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center.
Hippotherapy is a type of physical, occupational, or speech-language therapy that ideally uses the movement of the horse instead of more traditional equipment such as swings, treadmills, or swimming pools. It must be provided by a therapist who is both licensed in their specific field and highly trained through courses by the American Hippotherapy Association.
Horses enhance your child’s therapy by providing them with rhythmical and repetitive stimuli that other equipment is not able to provide. The horse also encourages social-emotional development and empowers a child of any ability and level within the natural world.
Due to the different atmosphere in the barn, there is enhanced opportunities for sensory stimulation and neurological development. Our therapist is a licensed physical therapist and has completed the highest level of training through the American Hippotherapy Association. Additionally, trained volunteers and certified adaptive riding instructors will be present during the Hippotherapy session.
Just as in a typical therapy experience, we must show functional progress. Expect your child to have an evaluation, established treatment plan including goals, activities and expected number of therapy sessions. Once a child has mastered the established goals, a recommendation to move towards therapeutic riding may be provided for maintenance and/or continued recreation.
Remember, Hippotherapy is the use of a horse’s movement to provide sensory and motor input during a therapy session. Therapeutic Riding is an adaptive method for teaching children how to ride a horse.
Here are some important things to know as you prepare for your hippotherapy session:
- You and your child must wear closed toe shoes-sneakers, rain boots, and paddock cowboy boots are acceptable. No flip flops or sandals.
- Dressing in layers is always recommended. The barn is heated in the winter, and there are fans in warmer weather. Big, bulky coats and snow pants are not recommended as they interfere with proper alignment and therapy.
- There will be many new and different smells, sounds, and sights in the barn. If you, as the adult, remain positive and calm, it will help your child remain calm as well.
- There is a common waiting area and viewing room for parents and siblings. Parent are not allowed in the arena for safety reasons. We will use the time at the beginning and the end of sessions to discuss any important information.
- Session will be 60 minutes in length, with 15-30 minutes on the horse depending on the child’s needs.
- Please cancel with at least 24 hours notice. Set up for the hippotherapy session is extensive and time consuming, and last minute cancellation are problematic for the staff and horse.
- Helmets must be worn. Please practice wearing a hat/helmet with your child ahead of time. Helmets will be provided during the hippotherapy session.
- Please discuss the pros and cons of wearing glasses and hearing aids during a hippotherapy session with your therapist during the initial evaluation.
- Make sure to bring your child’s communication device for the hippotherapy session if this is how they communicate.
- In the case of extreme temperatures or inclement weather, you will be contacted by the Galvin Therapy Center office for a reschedule.
- Every attempt will be made to keep routines as consistent as possible. Please understand that there are times when we may change horses from one session to the next for a multitude of reasons.
- Therapeutic riding lessons will be concurrent with the hippotherapy session. If appropriate, the therapist will incorporate activities from the class with the treatment to enhance motivation and group participation.
Hippotherapy Made Interesting
The best way for you to really learn what we do here is for you to come visit the facility. You NEED to see how our therapists make each session fun yet challenging in order to fully understand the many ways in which we can help you and your child.