The aim of hippotherapy is not to teach horse riding skills but is to promote increased functional skills both on and off the horse which could positively impact on activities of everyday life. Communication, interaction and respect for the horse are an integral part of hippotherapy.
Frequently referred medical conditions include cerebral palsy and developmental delay as well as acquired conditions such as traumatic brain injury.
Hippotherapy at Clwyd Special Riding Centre (CSRC) is run by Lynne Munro, MSc, MCSP, a Chartered Physiotherapist, health & care professions council registered (PH26887) who has completed
post graduate training in hippotherapy provided by the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Therapeutic Riding and Hippotherapy. Lynne also holds the Riding for the Disabled Association Coach qualification and the Level 2 UK Coaching Certificate in Riding for the Disabled.
Sessions lasting 30 minutes take place once a week when Lynne is assisted by a trained team of volunteers who are all DSB checked and who help to deliver hippotherapy. The horses are provided by CSRC and there is a close working partnership between the physiotherapist and the equine staff. The horses are trained and fit for purpose to ensure the best possible match between the horse and the requirement for the person. The sessions take place in the indoor school or the outdoor enclosed arena depending on the weather and other CSRC activities.
The shape and size of the horse is very important as this can promote independent sitting ability but other positions can also be used at the discretion of the physiotherapist.
These can include for example, sitting sideways, facing backwards, and lying down. Usually a bareback pad is used but sometimes a saddle and stirrups may be a good choice of tack depending on what goals Lynne and the child or adult are working towards, for example strengthening leg muscles to help improve walking ability.
The number of hippotherapy treatments required is very variable and is dependent on many factors.
Initially a course of at least 12 sessions is recommended. For some people hippotherapy can be a regular treatment to complement their other therapies whilst for others a short course of hippotherapy to target a specific problem is indicated.
Moving on from hippotherapy can be into one of the RDA groups at CSRC for therapeutic riding, vaulting and carriage driving or on to other activities not horse related. This is entirely dependent on what the child or adult wishes to do next.
Referral for hippotherapy assessment can be made to Lynne at CSRC by a parent / guardian or a health / medical professional or self referral by an adult.
Once contact has been made then an initial unmounted session is arranged usually on a Friday afternoon. This is to make sure there are no contraindications to hippotherapy and to establish what hippotherapy can realistically offer. After that if the parents or adult wish to try hippotherapy then an appointment time is given for a mounted assessment.
Cost: the initial unmounted assessment is free, following that each session costs £20 payable in advance or on the day by cash or cheque made payable to CSRC.
If you are interested and would like to find out if hippotherapy can help you or your child then please contact CSRC on 01352 770446 to leave a message for Lynne Munro.