Ever since Lochlan began therapy as a toddler, I've been eager to enroll him in hippotherapy, but logistical challenges kept us from doing so until now. Even though there is not a hippotherapy organization close to us, we finally committed to weekly sessions a few months ago, and the results have been beyond remarkable.
Hippotherapy, deriving its name from the Greek word for horse, has been an incredible journey for Lochlan. Each session, lasting about an hour, is led by a therapist accompanied by two or three volunteers. From unconventional horseback positions to various exercises, Lochlan not only enjoys himself immensely but also forgets the intensity of his efforts.
The most noticeable improvement has been in Lochlan's core strength, directly impacting his walking ability. Despite misconceptions about his legs, Lochlan's physical challenges stem from his brain's developmental aspects rather than his legs themselves. Strengthening his core has directly translated to strides in his walking.
The unique nature of hippotherapy, mirroring human gait, offers unparalleled benefits for Lochlan's gait training. Beyond physical advantages, such as balance and muscle strengthening, studies suggest cognitive enhancements as well.
In essence, hippotherapy isn't just about riding horses; it's about stimulating Lochlan's body and brain in ways that traditional therapy cannot. It's about forging new neural pathways and, most importantly, having a blast while doing so. We plan to make this form of therapy part of his weekly repertoire just as long as we have the resources to do so.
I also compiled a list of Hippotherapy Organizations specializing in Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy in Western Washington if you are looking to schedule your own Hippotherapy sessions:
- Rainy Day Ranch Therapeutic Riding Center (Olympia, Washington)
- Sundance Circle Hippotherapy (Sumner, Washington)
- Little Bit Therapeutic Riding (Redmond, Washington)
- Young Hearts Therapeutic (Lake Tapps, Washington)
If you have Hippotherapy Organizations in Western Washington, please email me so I can add them to this list.