Day 163: Hippotherapy

You’ve probably never heard of Hippotherapy, and that’s fine most people haven’t. (No, it has nothing to do with Hippos!) Hippotherapy is physical therapy on horseback. I can’t remember exactly where the name comes from but I know “hippo” has something to do with horses in Greek or Latin.

Because my cerebral palsy is so mild I haven’t needed too much therapy over the years. When I was little I did have speech therapy, but most of the therapy I’ve had over the years (if you don’t count my years in ballet which with the stretching I think of as a kind of therapy) was on horseback. Through my sessions I learned how to handle the horse, and did a variety of stretches while I the horse, such as riding in all four directions, touching my toes, etc. There’s something about the movement of the horse that helps a person’s movement. For me I didn’t really think of it as physical therapy, just as horseback riding.

I did hippotherapy for several years before my schedule became too busy and I became more involved in ballet. (I’ll never forget the day I went from riding to ballet with only an hour or so in between. I had to go from keeping my heels down, to keeping them up!) I saw some benefits in my body, but I was having so much fun and at the time wasn’t so aware of my limitations I probably didn’t even notice most of them. What I do remember is seeing changes in other riders.

I mostly had private lessons in the beginning, but later I had group lessons as well. I saw people of all ages riding from young children to adults with a wide variety of problems. The ones that stick out most in my mind were three adults with MS. In the beginning they would come in their wheelchairs unable to walk at all, but as time went on they didn’t need them any more, and could walk with the help of cane. It was truly amazing to see them progress!

Day 163: Thank you Lord for Hippotherapy and the impact it had on my life, and so many others!

What are you thankful for today? Leave a Comment and let me know, I’d love to read it!

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