Hippotherapy, Equine Therapy, Therapeutic Riding

The OTvest™ denim weighted vest provides trunk stability and calms while engaging in hippo therapy, equine therapy or therapeutic riding!

Hippo-therapy is administered by an occupational or physical therapist who have been trained specifically to use a horse in therapy. The therapy goals of special needs individuals are achieved by using the movement of the horse. The horse is used to influence the person instead of the person directing the horse. When the therapist observes the client’s response to how the therapist directs the horse, goals can be adjusted. In this setting, the OTvest can be useful in helping focus and calm an individual that is transitioning to equine-assisted therapy. The mild pressure on the scapula (shoulder-blade) and across the upper chest and back increases trunk stability and can stimulate pressure down into the saddle.

Wearing a OTvest and applying the deep pressure from the weight around the shoulder-girdle or upper back and upper chest of the rider can:

  • Help balance a beginner rider and provide the increased trunk stability when lacking or diminished.
  • Provide proprioceptive input for increased body/kinesthetic awareness so that the rider can have a greater sense of security on the horse.
  • Increase the impact of the rhythmic movement from the gait of the horse by stabilizing the trunk, so that the desired pelvic movement is more synchronized.
  • Help increase the awareness of the body in space, which is particularly helpful with those lacking coordination and difficulty with movement.
  • Encourage the rider to have more trunk awareness and increased stimulus to press down into the pelvis and saddle.

Therapeutic riding, on the other hand, focuses on teaching riding skills for health, education, sport and recreation. Horseback riding lessons are adapted to those with disabilities. Therapeutic riding doesn’t require a medical professional but most instructors are PATH International (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) certified. These certified riding instructors are trained in working with people with disabilities. The use of the OTvest, as described above, applies in the same ways for use in therapeutic riding.

A woman with dystonia wrote us after receiving the OTvest. She had also been attending therapeutic riding. This is her first letter, as she wrote almost daily after receiving the OTvest, as she was amazed at the difference it was making in her movement, sleep, and abilities:

11198620_10206408006055924_779807506_nDear Nancy [OTvest creator],

Just received my OT Vest less than an hour ago. I love it and can already tell I am using my arms better. I am even being more accurate with the keyboard as I sit to type this. My PT and therapeutic riding instructor have been working very hard on my shoulders and arms this week, as they were extremely tight. I put on the vest and they went immediately limp. It is as if I don’t have any tone at all in that area, which of course has calmed my whole system down. The vest feels very much like my therapists hands constantly on my shoulders. First impressions are that I love it!

I don’t want to take it off!

Thank you for everything.
Jennifer Zubko, Canada

Horseback riding offers many benefits to development:

  • Improve Balance and Coordination
  • Core Strength Improvements
  • Posture
  • Sensory integration
  • Awareness of one’s Body in Space (Kinesthesia or the sense that detects bodily position, weight, or movement of the muscles, tendons, and joints.)
  • Attention Improvement

Who benefits from Hippotherapy and Therapeutic riding?

Those with…

  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • ADHD
  • Sensory Processing Disorders
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Speech and Language Impairments
  • Cognitive Disorders

For more detailed information, please visit http://herosource.com/blog-test/top-12-therapeutic-riding-centers-in-se-michigan.html  The above information is adapted from this source.

Colorado State University’s Temple Grandin Equine Center http://tgec.agsci.colostate.edu/