Hippotherapy — riding to health!


Horse riding is not only a pleasant pastime, but also a way to cure many diseases and keep fit.

Hippotherapy as a method of treatment began to be actively used at the beginning of the 18th century. After all, communication with horses helps to achieve physical and psychological harmony, and riding develops coordination, improves physical fitness, not to mention its amazing ability to cure many diseases.

What it is?

«Horse» therapy works in two main areas — psychology and physiology. From the point of view of psychology, contact with a horse gives a person a lot of positive emotions, helps to relax. For sick children, this factor is very important, since such friendship excludes competition and malevolence inherent in human society, but implies sincere love and affection. Also, for most people suffering from diseases included in the list of indications for hippotherapy, it is important that when communicating with a horse, it is not required to literally speak. For this communication, it is much more important to use sign language. The horse perceives the image of a person, reacts to his movements, intonations, smell and even body temperature. Often for this reason, the horse serves as an intermediary in communication with especially seriously ill patients. Paradoxically, sometimes an animal understands a person much better than a person himself.

The second direction of hippotherapy (physiology) involves direct contact with the horse. The set of exercises includes sitting on a horse and riding directly. According to doctors, the effectiveness of hippotherapy in the treatment of diseases is achieved due to the fact that:

  • The body temperature of a horse exceeds that of a human by 1.5-2 degrees. Therefore, in direct contact with the horse, the muscles and joints of the legs and pelvis are warmed up.
  • Horseback riding develops coordination. To adapt to the movements of the horse’s body, it is necessary to coordinate the movement of the body as a whole and each limb separately. Thanks to this, the necessary level of natural concentration is achieved.
  • Riding a horse teaches a person to be independent, his adaptive functions to surrounding irritating factors and the world as a whole improve.
  • The patient sometimes does not know that he is undergoing treatment. In this case, a person does not have subconscious resistance, which makes hippotherapy more effective than inpatient treatment.

The course and duration of hippotherapy depends on the diagnosis, indications and goals. But usually communication with horses is a long period and continues even after the result is achieved, because for most patients these peaceful creatures remain best friends forever.


Hippotherapy is useful not only for people suffering from certain diseases, but also for those who simply want to balance their emotional state or improve physical fitness. And the basic indications for the use of hippotherapy include:


  • Cerebral palsy
  • Autism and other mental illnesses
  • developmental delay
  • Down syndrome
  • Rehabilitation after a stroke (and other forms of cerebrovascular accident)
  • Bone and joint diseases, including scoliosis
  • Various forms of paralysis
  • Pain syndromes
  • Brain injury.
  • Urology and gynecology (including infertility treatment)
  • Recovery from injuries
  • Diseases of the nervous system (including insomnia, depression, effects of stress)


It would be a mistake to assume that hippotherapy is useful for everyone without exception. In fact, there are diseases in which riding is strictly prohibited. The main contraindications are:

  • Acute form of any disease (especially cardiovascular, mental, neurological)
  • Osteoporosis
  • kidney disease
  • Hemophilia
  • Brittleness and fragility of bones

However, the list of absolute contraindications is small. For example, experts even advise continuing to exercise if mild forms of allergy to horse hair appear. After all, the result of the classes exceeds all expectations, and this type of allergy passes with time.

Be healthy!

Author: Natalia Kay

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