Hippotherapy is the use of horseback riding as a therapeutic treatment, especially as a means of improving coordination, balance, and strength.
Recently such training was presented at Utah State University to professionals from around the world. Judy Smith, assistant professor of equine-assisted activities at USU, said some attending had never worked with horses before.
“This level one course,” Smith explained, “was designed for just that therapist to get the basic introduction of ‘how do I engage a horse as another addition to my therapeutic resources’.”
Smith said this therapy can help someone who has lost movement in their legs.
“The movement of the horse actually mirrors the human movement as far as it moves the pelvis and the core and the torso. And it allows for people who maybe have lost that opportunity to be mobile in such a way as to reconnect with themselves and strengthen their bodies and strengthen that mind-body connection.”
Therapists came to Logan from around the world to participate, including one from Dubai and another from Canada.
The three-day course included components in the classroom and in the arena, where attendees gained hands-on experience working with horses.