The effectiveness of Hippotherapy has yet to be questioned and the method has firmly entered into various types of rehabilitation programs. The demand for this method is steadily increasing, and therefore clinics are open to using this unconventional therapeutic intervention.

Hippotherapy means treatment with the help of a horse. More precisely, when sitting on the horse, the patient's movements are used as physiotherapy, as part of the program for occupational therapy or speech restoration. The therapy aims to influence various damaged areas of the nervous system, functional disorders and other complications in patients with neurophysiological disorders.

This modern approach basically consists of principles, which were already developed by German specialist in the 1960s. The method gradually spread to other European countries and then went beyond the borders of the continent.


The movements performed on a horse are used by the therapist to improve the patient's motor function. At the same time, the patient takes on various postures, as instructed by a specialist: either a classic sitting on a horse or sitting with the back of the head looking forward, or sitting perpendicular to the horse. It is also possible to perform exercises in the supine position on the back or abdomen. Thus, the therapist can continuously watch how the patient reacts to small movements of the horse in different positions. To stimulate the necessary types of movements, the experienced hippotherapist controls a certain frequency and direction of horse movement. The proper implementation of this process requires extensive experience and a clear understanding of the principles of Hippotherapy.

As a rule, the primary task is to improve the posture and the range of movements. The positive results are manifested as progress in coordination, increased muscle tone, posture correction, reduced spasticity and increased muscle strength and flexibility. The positive changes can often occur in other systems of the body, namely in the respiratory, cognitive, vestibular, emotional and speech systems. These changes may be partly the result of improvements in motor function (for example, breathing and speech function should improve when correcting the posture and improving coordination), but often they are a direct consequence of performing exercises on the horse. This fact is a significant advantage of the method and increases the range of its application: Hippotherapy can not only be a part of the restoration of the motor function, but can also assist in part of other directions of neurorehabilitation.

The hippotherapist uses exercises that meet the individual needs of the patient and aim to restore specific functions. The patient does not need riding skills to perform these exercises. The movements of the horse create conditions that activate various motor and sensory reflexes, which are involved in performing many types of movements. Since the therapy takes place outside the clinic, the patient experiences an emotionally uplifting activity, which additionally increases the effectiveness of the treatment.


Hippotherapy can improve the motor function, stability, range of movements, and also has a positive impact on the patient's psychological, cognitive and commutative function. The therapy can be used at almost any age.

It can be used for

The method is used as part of the rehabilitation program. It can be used as a preparatory therapy for increasing muscle tone and activating the muscles before exercises for restoring gait. It is also used before exercises to mobilize the spine. In some cases, it serves as the main method of therapy or is used after physiotherapy to improve its effectiveness.

Here you can also learn more about other methods:

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