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Hippotherapy and Therapeutic Riding Service

As well as being an integral part of the physiotherapy programme for children and young people attending Chailey Heritage School it is also available to the wider community on a private basis.

Riding offers young people an outdoor activity and sustained cardiovascular exercise whilst working on motor, communication and social skills, boosting self-esteem and increasing confidence.

Fun, Therapeutic & Multi-Sensory

Riding at Chailey Heritage Foundation is an essential part of our physiotherapy programme. It combines physical fun with therapeutic input which benefits young people with complex physical disabilities. Therapeutic riding and Hippotherapy can offer young people with complex disabilities a broad range of benefits, including:

  • Improved ability to sit
  • Postural and head control
  • Improved upper limb selective control and dexterity
  • Improved coordination and spacial awareness
  • Multi-sensory experience

Support for Learning

A Hippotherapy-trained Chartered Physiotherapist is always present during riding sessions, together with assistance from our invaluable riding-specific volunteers. Many areas of the curriculum can also be taught and reinforced through riding. It combines physical activity and therapy-focused exercise with the learning aims of the classroom. Being outdoors and interacting with an animal provides lots of different opportunities to learn about the environment, weather, colour, numbers, parts of the horse, as well as reinforcement of communication and motor skills in a multi-sensory and motivating environment.

What is Hippotherapy?

Hippotherapy involves using the movement of the horse as a physio-therapeutic treatment modality. Different positions on the horse, such as lying down, sitting backwards or sideways on the horse, can be used in order to help achieve therapeutic benefit. Such benefits may include:

  • Maintenance of joint range of movement or increased symmetry in posture
  • Assist normalisation of muscle tone
  • Improved head or trunk control and balance
  • Improved selective upper limb control and dexterity
  • Improved communication
  • Improved comfort and mood
  • Improved participation and integration
  • Integration of educational and functional goals

Therapeutic & Therapeutic Back Riding

Therapeutic back riding allows the child to sit upright on the horse, with the physiotherapist sitting behind the child in order to better facilitate their posture on the horse. This is useful where the child requires more support than could be achieved from the ground in order to sit and allows the child to work on skills while sitting on a moving base.

Therapeutic riding is more conventional riding as riding skill is taught. This is suitable for children and young adults who have a good level of sitting ability and balance.

Next Steps

Before any young person is accepted for riding, they will need to have a land-based assessment with the Hippotherapist and have shared some information re the needs of the young person.

To make an initial enquiry or to request more information, please get in touch here.

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