Shining Hope Farms’ Hippotherapy Program

What is Hippotherapy?

According to the American Hippotherapy Association, Inc., the term hippotherapy refers to how occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech-language pathology professionals use evidence-based practice and clinical reasoning in the purposeful manipulation of equine movement to engage sensory, neuromotor, and cognitive systems to achieve functional outcomes. In conjunction with the affordances of the equine environment and other treatment strategies, hippotherapy is part of a patient’s integrated plan of care.

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Physical Therapy

Addresses the motor needs of each client to promote functional outcomes in skill areas related to gross motor ability such as sitting, standing and walking.

Occupational Therapy

Addresses fine motor control, sensory integration, feeding skills, attentional skills and functional daily living skills in a progressively challenging manner.

Speech Language Pathology

Generates effective remediation of communication disorders and promotes functional communication outcomes.

The therapists at Shining Hope Farms are members of The American Hippotherapy Association (AHA). The AHA is a group of medical professionals (physical, occupational and speech therapists) and others who are interested in the use of equine movement as a treatment strategy. AHA is an affiliate partner of PATH Intl. (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International), a national non-profit organization.

Therapy services (OT, PT, or SLP) are offered in the farm environment utilizing the highly motivating tools of interaction with farm animals and the natural environment for therapeutic rehabilitation, skill building, and adaptation. Therapists may also utilize equine movement and related activities for appropriate clients. Once clients have met their individualized physical, cognitive, and/or communication goals, therapists will suggest and help facilitate goal maintenance by providing opportunities for continued participation at the farm (e.g. volunteering, work-based projects, recreational horseback riding, horticulture, or animal care).

The Federal Government has approved Shining Hope Farms as an in-network health care provider with NC Medicaid, SC Medicaid as well as most of the major insurance companies in order to provide Physical, Occupational, and Speech Language Pathology therapy services at our facilities, which includes an on site therapy clinic. Consumers are responsible for their co pays and deductibles for services rendered at the time of service.

The equine’s stride provides multidimensional movement, which is variable, rhythmic, and repetitive. The horse provides a dynamic base of support, making it an excellent tool for increasing trunk control, balance, postural strength, weight bearing, and motor planning. It offers well-modulated sensory input to vestibular, proprioceptive, tactile, and visual channels.

When a client is sitting on the horse, the horse’s walking gait facilitates movement responses remarkably similar to the human gait. The effects of equine movement on postural control, sensory systems, and motor planning can be used to improve coordination, timing, grading of responses, respiratory control, sensory integration, and attention.

Licensed Therapists & Specialized Staff

Each session is led by a licensed PT, OT, or SLP with specialized training in the principles of Hippotherapy. Each session also consists of a carefully trained team including a side-walker and horse-leader.

Our Horses

Each therapy horse used in the program has been evaluated and chosen for his movement quality, temperament, and training.

Doctors' RX Required

Each client must provide a doctor’s prescription for therapy. When paperwork is received, the therapist conducts a thorough initial evaluation of each client and formulates functional goals.  Progress updates are conducted every six months to evaluate client progress.

Make your impact today

Your contribution of time or funds to Shining Hope Farms will make a direct difference in the life of a child or adult with disabilities.