Hippotherapy | Equine Therapy | Children's TherAplay Foundation


The official definition of hippotherapy

Hippotherapy is a physical, occupational or speech and language therapy treatment strategy that utilizes equine movement. Hippotherapy literally means "treatment with the help of the horse" from the Greek word, "hippos" meaning horse.

Specially trained physical and occupational therapists use this treatment for clients with movement dysfunction. In hippotherapy, the movement of the horse influences the client. The client is positioned on the horse and actively responds to his movement. The therapist directs the movement of the horse; analyzes the client's responses; and adjusts the treatment accordingly. This strategy is used as part of an integrated treatment program to achieve functional outcomes.

What that means?

A licensed, specially-trained physical therapist, occupational therapist or speech language pathologist may use a horse as a treatment tool within their therapy session, just as they might use a ball, balance beam, physio ball or toy.

Therapy horses

Our therapy horses are carefully chosen for their temperament and the type of movement they produce. All are specifically trained for their unique role within therapy sessions and are guided by professional horse handlers, which optimizes safety and effectiveness. 

Who Benefits?

At Children's TherAplay, we see children for physical and occupational therapy for a wide variety of diagnoses. These include: autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, developmental delays, social/communication delays, brain or spinal cord injuries, and genetic disorders.  For more information, click here.


All of the Children's TherAplay therapists are licensed by the State of Indiana and have national certification through the American Hippotherapy Association to integrate horses safely and effectively into their therapy session.

In addition, our physical therapists have training in sensory integration, kinesio taping, gait training and early intervention, while our occupational therapists have bachelor's and master's degrees in occupational therapy as well as additional training in sensory integration and the Beckman Oral Motor Protocol.

More Information on Hippotherapy

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