Friday, January 23, 2009
Hippotherapy is a fancy word for therapy provided through use of a horse. You've probably heard of such programs provided to physically disabled, emotionally disturbed, or otherwise troubled people. Perhaps you even have a program in your area.
It takes a special horse to be part of such a program. They can't be too old or too young, and they must be healthy. They need a calm, gentle disposition, unfazed by a variety of riders, and different handlers. They must be able to accept the devices used to assist those who are physically disabled. And a smooth gait is important. Of course, an affection for humans helps, too. What better incentive to work hard could there be than the feeling of freedom that comes from being on a horse? And the bond that develops between horse and rider is visible.
In our area, Therapeutic Horsemanship provides that much needed service. They're licensed by the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA) and have offered programs since 1975. Check them out at
People and animals. There's no limit to what they can do together.