Horseback riding therapy – “hippotherapy”

Jordan - with physical therapist and occupational therapists at Little Bit

Jordan - with physical therapist and occupational therapists at Little Bit

Jordan has been on the wait list for Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center for over 3 years and we finally got the call for him to come in for an assessment. 

After talking with me, viewing Jordan’s IEP (with school physical therapist’s notes), and setting some goals, it was time for Jordan to mount onto Bjourn and take his first lap around the arena.

Heading into the arena with all his team

Heading into the arena with his team

For the early riders, there is a PT on one side, an OT on the other, and another person behind who actually steers the horse kind of like a plow horse.

Here is Wikipedia’s brief explanation: In the hippotherapy environment, a therapist uses the horse‘s movement to provide carefully graded sensory input. A foundation is established to improve neurological function and sensory processing, which can be generalized to a wide range of daily activities. Unlike in therapeutic horseback riding, where specific riding skills are taught, in hippotherapy the movement of the horse is a means to a treatment goal.

Jordan is so looking forward to his next time up on the horse.

Jordan is so looking forward to his next time up on the horse.

Jordan will be able to work on strengthening his trunk muscles, gait movement, visual tracking, hand strength, fine motor skills and a myriad of other things. He starts the summer quarter on Monday, July 6th at 3:00 pm! Yay!

Jordan’s ability to walk independently has grown so much in the past year. In November we sat down with the educational team and set goals for the year. The PT wanted to set a goal of Jordan walking 60 feet independently, to which Willie and I pretty much, well, laughed. He was currently doing almost 30 feet. Well, only 7 months later he was walking over 100 feet independently! God is so good to continue healing and growing this boy.


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Susan Smith
    Jun 29, 2009 @ 17:15:52

    What a blessing! Love that boy!


  2. Jane-anne
    Jun 30, 2009 @ 05:43:47

    Iam glad that your son is getting a chance to try this therapy.If you visit my blog you will see that we also offer this therapy in Sudan.
    Good luck and God bless you and your son.


  3. Danielle Bitzer-Harnsberry
    Jun 30, 2009 @ 08:27:40

    Hi Stephanie!
    I just heard about this program through our PT last week, I think Jacqueline might be too young just yet at she is only just 2. I would LOVE for her to have something like this! I hope Jordan loves his time with Bjorn this summer!


  4. barbara smith
    Jun 30, 2009 @ 10:02:38

    I have heard many parents say that balance and walking coordination have improved after hippotherapy. I work with many children who are only just two years old and I see much benefit. However, as a precaution I do not trot with the really little kids.
    Barbara Smith OTR/L


  5. Mario Orozco
    Jun 30, 2009 @ 11:43:15

    Hey have you heard of The Horse Boy? It is a similar story that was a New York Times bestsellers a couple of years back and it is now opening as a documentary sometime soon.

    I caught a screening of it at Sundance this year and though you and your readers would be interested.

    Here’s the website:


  6. Kim
    Jul 01, 2009 @ 12:12:30

    I cannot wait to have a walker destruction party! he’s looking AMAZING lately! 😉


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