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What is Hippotherapy?

 Hippotherapy (horse riding therapy) is a type of treatment that aims to work the body muscles with exercises performed on a horse. Horse movements are used as a treatment strategy in hippotherapy. An important reason for the use of the horse in therapy is that the rhythmic movements of the horse are very close to human movements.

 Hippotherapy is derived from the Greek word “hippo” meaning “horse” and the word “therapy”. The benefit of the horse in treatment was noticed around 460 BC, and it has been used intensively since the 1950s. Today, there are over a thousand hippotherapy centers in America, Canada, and England alone. Hippotherapy, which is applied under the control of physiotherapists abroad, has also become popular in our country.

Horse Riding Simulation Device

 Advances in technology have offered the hippotherapy simulation device, which imitates the movements of a real horse exactly, to the use of patients as a physical therapy tool.


All major muscle groups are exercised with the horse riding simulation device. This is a reflexive event. Because while on the horse's back, the rider moves with it and instinctively tries to keep the balance in order not to fall. Thus, both healthy and damaged muscles are activated.

 Main benefits of hippotherapy

The benefits are muscle development, flexibility, strength, balance, coordination, self-confidence, discipline, control, adaptation, social interaction, stronger mobility, and mental relaxation.

Horse riding therapy is fun and beneficial for all age groups. Hippotherapy has become an enjoyable method that makes life worth living despite obstacles without restricting the lives of people with disabilities.

With hippotherapy, the tone (tension) of the trunk muscles can be normalized or brought closer to normal (facilitation of postural tone). The antigravity muscles must have sufficient postural tone to hold the trunk and extremities in an upright position. Improvement in postural tone can also be associated with hippotherapy, vestibular and visual sensory input, somatosensory input, and proprioceptive input from the spine, pelvis, and hip.

 Situations where hippotherapy is helpful:

 The target audience of horse riding therapy is children and adults with moderate to severe neuromotor dysfunction. Many scientific studies have been conducted on hippotherapy. In a study, they showed that energy consumption during walking and gross motor functions of children with spastic CP decreased after 8 weeks of hippotherapy applications (McGibbon et al., 1998). In another study, they concluded that hippotherapy increased muscle symmetry in children with CP aged 4-12 years (Benda et al., 2003). These and similar practices show that hippotherapy is a good supportive treatment method alongside classical rehabilitation practices.

 Hippotherapy can be helpful in the conditions below:

- Abnormal muscle tone and reflexes

- Balance and coordination disorders

- Communication and oral motor dysfunctions

- Sensorimotor dysfunctions

- Postural asymmetry: Scoliosis, kyphosis, and lordosis

- CP (Cerebral Palsy)

- Autism

- Chromosome abnormalities or losses

- Developmental delays

- Sensory perception disorders

- Stroke

- MS (Multiple Sclerosis)

- Brain damage