Amanda started equine-assisted therapy at Midwest Council for Children with Disabilities (MCCD) as a part of her physical therapy when she was 18 months old. She spends the first half hour riding the horse in the prone position (lying on her stomach without a saddle) and the second half hour with the physical therapist.
Hippotherapy is a treatment that uses the multidimensional movement of the horse; from the Greek word "hippos"; which means horse. Specially trained physical, occupational and speech therapists use this medical treatment for clients who have movement dysfunction. Historically, the therapeutic benefits of the horse were recognized as early as 468 A.D. The use of the horse as therapy evolved throughout
Hippotherapy uses activities on the horses that are meaningful to the client. 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. The horse rhythmically and naturally moves the body in a manner similar to the human gait, improving posture, balance and muscle control.
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