The term of “hippotherapy” from the Greek word “hippos” for horse, literally means treatment with the help of the horse. Hippotherapy has been used as a form of treatment in Europe for more than 30 years and it continues to grow in popularity as the therapeutic value of the horse is recognized throughout the medical community. In hippotherapy, the horse influences the patient, rather than the patient influencing the horse. The patient works with a specially trained occupational, physical, or speech therapist, who uses the horse as a mobile therapeutic tool. The action of the horse, coupled with traditional therapy, influences muscle tone, mobilizes joints, activates muscle action, increases sensorimotor integration, and improves balance and midline control. The three-dimensional, repetitive movement of the horse, combined with the unique environment surrounding the horse, makes it a tool unmatched by traditional therapeutic tools.
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