Hippotherapy: questions that need answers
How to find a reliable hippotherapy center
The first place to ask for a reliable center of hippotherapy for children is your health care provider. If your doctor cannot recommend a specific hippotherapy center or the recommended one does not suit you, don’t be afraid to search for one on your own. The best helper for your search is the Internet. Search engine will provide you with a lot of information about hippotherapy centers for children including patient testimonials.
Acquaintance with a hippotherapy center
When you find the right hippotherapy center located a short distance from your home, with good references, make the next step: get personally acquainted with the center, hippotherapist and horses.
Acquaintance with a hippotherapist
The main personal quality of hippotherapist is to make a patient trust in him. You can judge hippotherapist’s professional level by the way he/she demonstrates proactiveness, sensitivity and patience. A hippotherapist needs information about a diagnosis, you need to find out whether it is a problem he/she deals with, whether the child age specifics are taken into account and how a child’s safety is ensured. Among the first things to ask is the question about the education of a hippotherapist. Ideally, he/she has to have special medical, psychological or pedagogical education. A hippotherapist must have a certificate or diploma in the hippotherapy method training. Also, a hippotherapist is required to be able to ride and, of course, deal with a horse. Check what you need to start hippotherapy training for children. A specialist who has medical ethics and understands the principles of hippotherapy will be sure to ask to bring medical records, x-rays and recommendation of the attending physician. After a thorough study of the diagnosis, a hippotherapist will draw an individual course for training taking into account the features of a patient and only after this, will invite your child to the hippotherapy classes for children.
Getting familiar with a horse for hippotherapy
Before taking a trial lesson in hippotherapy for kids, let's look at a horse participating in hippotherapy. It should be a specially trained, experienced and healthy animal, not younger than 5 years and not older than 20 years, growing from 145 to 165 cm at the withers. A horse for hippotherapy must respond quietly to hectic behavior of a rider, be able to walk in step for a long time and stand still as long as it takes. The gait of a hippotherapy horse should be rhythmic, elastic and springy. Remember that rehabilitation of a patient depends on the mental and physical condition of the horse.
What to keep in mind at the first lesson in hippotherapy for children
A place for hippotherapy lessons must be away from strangers or other animals. This can be a fenced area with soft grounds or an indoor arena. A special platform with an entrance for wheelchairs shall be available for mounting a horse. Before the first class in hippotherapy, be prepared for the fact that your child may not want to sit on a horse. A professional hippotherapist will never put a child on a horse by force because the first lesson in hippotherapy is often the decisive factor if there are any therapeutic results of it in the future. If a child is afraid of horses - it makes sense to postpone taking hippotherapy classes for another time, then to go to the hippotherapy center for several times, gradually reducing the distance between the child and the horse. A hippotherapy class for children should include a warmup, main part, games and the final part.
Do parents need to attend hippotherapy classes for children?
A patient, a horse, a hippotherapist and a horse-holder make up the optimal composition of hippotherapy sessions. During the first classes, participation of one of the parents is possible to make it easier for a child to get familiar with the new place, the horse and the instructor. Later, if there are no special medical recommendations, there is no need for parents to be present during the hippotherapy classes - they will be distracting the child from the class.
Sourse: Horse Park