Have you heard of the benefits of hippotherapy? (It has nothing to do with hippos)

Clarence Ford talks to Patricia Hart of Southern Suburbs Hippotherapy about the benefits of Equine Assisted Therapy.

– Hippotherapy, derived from the Greek word “hippo”, which means horse, is a form of physical, occupational and speech therapy.

– Practitioners say it can help with a wide range of conditions ranging from neurological disorders to musculoskeletal disorders.


During Monday’s morning review on CapeTalk, Clarence Ford found out more about hippotherapy with occupational therapist Trish Hart.

Also known as equine-assisted therapy, it uses activities with horses to promote human physical and mental health.

Founder of Southern Suburbs Hippotherapy, Trish says the anecdotal evidence she’s seen of her success over the years has been incredible.

A child laughed for the first time, being on the horse, it was amazing.

Patricia Hart, Founder – South Suburb Hippotherapy

So how does it work?

In hippotherapy terms for physical therapy, it’s about the horse’s movements and how the horse’s movements influence the child, Hart says.

As the horse moves, the child must adjust and balance. Your muscles really work a lot.

Patricia Hart, Founder – South Suburb Hippotherapy

There are many different sensory inputs. Anything you can work on in the therapy room, you can do on a horse.

Patricia Hart, Founder – South Suburb Hippotherapy

Hart says the three horses they use for therapy, Midnight, Pochahontas and Rosie all have very different personalities.

Midnight is super laid back and easygoing, you can put any kid on her. Pocahontas is sensitive and is great with kids who are on the spectrum.

Patricia Hart, Founder – South Suburb Hippotherapy

Hart explains that horses are matched to children based on their relationship to the child. Essentially, the animal chooses the child.

Some children will connect with a particular pony.

Patricia Hart, Founder – South Suburb Hippotherapy

RELATED:‘Recovering’ horses desperately need help finding homes


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