The term Hippotherapy literally means “treatment with the horse”.
Specially trained physical and occupational therapists use this medical treatment for clients with movement disabilities. In Hippotherapy, the horse influences the client rather than the client influencing the horse. The client is positioned on, and actively responds to, the movement of the therapy horse. The therapist directs the movement of the horse, analyses the client’s responses and adjusts the treatment accordingly.
The aim of the treatment session is to improve the client’s posture, balance, mobility and function. The therapist chooses different positions in which to place the client on the horse. This may include sitting forwards, backwards, lying across the horse and lying back along on the horse. The client is re-positioned throughout the session to achieve their specific treatment goals, but little other active movement is asked of the client as the movement stimulated by the action of the horse, provides the therapeutic benefit.
Hippotherapy is a medical treatment which must be carried out by a qualified Physiotherapist, Occupational Therapist or a highly qualified coach under the supervision of the Physiotherapist or Occupational Therapist. Hippotherapy is very intensive and requires several more volunteers and coaches than regular riding classes. It is for this reason that we offer this program on a very limited basis.
Who benefits from Hippotherapy?
Clients with the following conditions may be effectively treated with Hippotherapy:
What are the unique characteristics of Hippotherapy?
The Hippotherapy team
The team involves the client, the Hippotherapy horse, the physiotherapist/occupational therapist, the nationally accredited RDA coach, the side walkers (volunteers) and the specially trained horse handler.
The treatment is carried out in an enclosed riding arena and treatment can last from twenty minutes to forty five minutes depending on the fatigue levels of the rider.
A detailed assessment by the therapist prior to Hippotherapy treatment is essential, and ongoing records and medical notes are kept during the Hippotherapy sessions.
What are the costs?
The actual costs involved in delivering a Hippotherapy session are quite sizable due to the fact that it is a resource intensive therapy. It costs over $250 per hour to deliver Hippotherapy treatments to clients.
Pegasus recognises that many clients accessing this program already have significant expenses brought about by the needs of their disability and we understand that most clients are not able to meet these costs. Through sponsorship we seek from community donors, we are able to substantially subsidise this cost. At present this form of treatment is not recognized by Medicare or Health Insurers for rebates. For current details of costs please contact Pegasus on 02 6254 9190.
An annual rider registration fee of $80 is also payable and includes membership of Pegasus and the Riding for the Disabled Association of Australia and personal accident insurance.