Therapy doesn’t have to be sterile and clinical. It can be fun, it can be delivered in innovative ways. Hippotherapy, Equine and Nature-based Therapy are perfect examples of that!
So what is hippotherapy?
It’s a form of Physiotherapy that uses the movement of a horse, in walk, to challenge the balance reactions and postural control of the rider.
Instead of a saddle we use a specially made therapy pad that allows the movement of the horse to be transmitted to the patient. We work in a variety of positions facing forward, sitting sideways and even backwards! Hippotherapy is effective treatment for children with conditions who have low postural tone or core muscles.
IT ALL STARTS WITH YOUR CHILD’S NEEDS
Every session is tailored to the needs of the rider. So we always start with a therapeutic assessment
From there we work through a variety of sitting and lying positions to support the development of balance and postural reactions from the head down. That means everything from sitting over the side of the horse to even sitting backwards facing the tail.
Each exercise is designed to help you understand and notice what head control and trunk control looks like, so we can start to create those building blocks for development, in a relaxed, fun environment.
How does it work?
Hippotherapy sessions are available at our dedicated 4 acre therapy centre near Bristol. Our dedicated and highly skilled team work closely with therapists and professionals, supported by our trained volunteers, along with some incredible ponies to deliver treatment, either as part of therapy sessions, or through a bespoke Hippotherapy service.
Alongside the horses in the arena and fields, we also have access to a mechanical horse simulator that can be used for treatment too, based on the needs of the session. As a trained Equine Massage and Rehabilitation Therapist, and an experienced horse woman, the most important members of the Hippotherapy team are the horses themselves, and their welfare is paramount. And all are thoroughly assessed for their temperament, behaviour, movement and soundness before being selected for a session.
How we use Nature-Based Therapy
The benefits of being in nature are amazing, the team and I regularly use the woodlands, fields, bell tent and outdoor arenas as way to create fun in our sessions. In addition to the fantastic mental health benefits found from being outside, we also see developments in children’s speech and language, motor skills, communication and understanding of the world around them. Working with this holistic approach, we are able to use the environment to provide intuitive and creative activities for physiotherapy.
Our youngest member of the gang at just 3 years old! Willow is gentle, and kind and loves nothing more than a scratch and a cuddle. She loves being talked to. As such a young therapy pony, she joins in for short tactile and grooming sessions and is not yet working at full capacity so she has time to grow, settle in and find her confidence.
bozzy & sweetpea
Bozzy is our tiniest addition at just 6 hands high! He is so gentle, patient and happy to munch on his hay net whilst doing his thing. He is our go to for introductions, anxious clients and those who need a slower pace and forgiving attitude. He is perfect for our children and young people with more complex physical and sensory needs.
Sweetpea is just 4 years old but having been hand reared after being rescued she craves attention from humans! She will have a slow introduction to work as a therapy pony but thinks she needs to be involved anyway!
The resident cheeky chap who has always got time for a quite and gentle snuggle. Underneath the bravado Pasha, like many of our children and young people, he take his time to build a relationship with new people but will give you his all along the way. Pasha is liberty trained and thrives on work, he loves to be busy!
Our wise soul, Strider has been around the planet a few times before! A curious and sparky personality, this stoic chap seeks out kisses, cuddles and fuss at every opportunity. Strider is trained to ride and drive and is in training as our resident hippotherapy pony.
Our blue eyed boy, Frazer wakes up with his make up as he sports a beautiful black natural 'eyeliner' around his bright blue eyes! Frazer is just 5 years old and a native Welsh breed. He is a master in training for ground work in the arena with obstacle courses and agility work. He is looking forward to getting stuck in with life as an EFL and therapy pony.
A firm SENStory favourite. Brian is the first to offer his services for a heart hug and will wrap himself around you for a cuddle in return. Expressive and curious, Brian loves to nuzzle and explore your hands, arms or even your hair and he's sure to raise a giggle! Brian is one of our resident EFL horses who works with young people and adults alike.