I was wondering if any of your boys benefitted from horse therapy or hippotherapy. In addition to his DMD related issues, my son does not have any language or communication skills. One of his therapists at school recommended that we try this. They said that it can help communication skills as well as occupational and physical needs. I was just curious if anyone had any information, or experience with this. If so, did it seem to help your sons?

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Hey Jen! It's cousin Lori! I have done some research on hippotherapy. The impact on communication can be pretty remarkable! I am sure you have looked at the research, but if there is anything I can do to help, I would love to!
Xavier did 5 sessions this summer as a pilot program for his therapy group. They are trying to get funding to bring it onboard. The effects were AMAZING! I recommend it for everyone. Xavier did not want to work on his writing over the summer and after his second session he came home and immediately sat down and drew a picture of Zeke (the horse) and wrote a story about his day with Zeke. All on his own. When I came home from work that day he was jumping up and down so excited to show me and tell me about it. We noticed a huge difference in how he delt socially with other children, especially his little sister. He was a kid that avoided other kids, would do parallel play instead of involving himself with them. He disliked loud noises they made. His coping skills with that have improved and he actually enjoys interacting with other children now. His self confidence skills have improved. He is willing to do things he didn't before. He has faith in his own physical abilities now. He was not a big horse kid (my daughter on the other hand LOVES horses) but he immediately bonded with Zeke, would press his face against the window when we left he was so sad to leave him. He was heartbroken at the end of the 5 week period and begged us to sign him up again. We decided come spring if his therapy group doesn't get the funding to open their own program we will find a program and pay out of pocket if necessary to do this. Even other people could notice the change immediately in him, and the only thing changing in his life was the hippotherapy. If you have the opportunity...DO IT!!!
Wow Jennifer! That is so great that it helped Xavier that much! I had no idea it was that beneficial. Daniel has a lot of the same issues you mentioned. I am going to have to look into that more.
Jacob has been going for over a year now. He goes once a week for 45 minutes and he loves it. He is now riding a horse on his own and to watch his confidence is really amazing. I have a picture of him winning second place at the Special Equestrians Rodeo this past summer on my page.

I definitely believe that it has helped him with his balance and with his gait when walking. It really amazes everyone there as to the progress that he's made.

When he first started you would see him go around the ring sitting frontways, then sideways, then backwards and then to the other side to help him learn to center himself.

He is definitely more confident with himself then he was before.

I would also recommend getting him a Power Wing. If you google it you will see what it is.
It moves by standing on it and holding the handle bars and moving your hips from side to side. The girls at Special Equestrians saw it and said it gives them the same motion as riding a horse and they love to ride it. Jacob is a real ham on his and his 3 year old sister has one and loves it too. I bought one even though it says it's good up to 140 pounds only, (I'm 180) and we took them to the park and did them together along the bike path. It's much easier than riding a bike and actually much more fun.
Hi Jennifer,
Our son Dale does hippotherapy once a week at a place called HOrses helping PEople or HOPE. The OT that works with his is awesome. She is concentraing on Dale's communication skills for now and all the while he is getting the stretching and trunk strengthing without even knowing it. He absolutely loves it. The whole experience of going out there and being around the horses is just wonderful for all of us.
Lelia
I started to write about Jack's experience and it is almost identical to Jacobs!! We have been doing therapeutic riding once a week, for an hour, for the last year. We have a great instructor who did her research on DMD and then added some things specifically for stretching Jack.

Jack loves it and he is so proud of himself being able to handle such a large animal. Jack's brother is quite an athlete and this has been "Jack's sport"!!! There are a couple pictures on my page if you want to see him having fun!

Ang :)
I wanted to thank everyone for their trusted opinions/views about hippotherapy. I am looking into getting it for my son, Ryan. Does anyone know if it is covered by insurance? Just wondering! It sounds like it has been awesome for all of your boys!
~Jen
Ours was covered by insurance under the OT coverage
Jacob's has not been covered by insurance but I understand that they are working on trying to get it approved.
Hi everyone-
We have a big coincidence in our family. Our son Ben was just diagnosed with DMD this week (he is our youngest child). Our oldest, Michelle, age 17, has been working toward going to school for Therapeutic Riding for two years. When she heard of the diagnosis, she immediately started looking up the local Therapeutic riding centers to try and get him started. We will most certainly investigate further, especially after hearing of your success!
Laurie
We do hippotherapy . Is partialy now paid by PPO . HMO wouldn't approved.Is a nice addition to Jacob's life.He likes terapist, horses and the riding. When kids ride they streach those tendons which are ussually not streached when walking or running.
Christian does this every other weekend. It is awesome. Christian loves to do this. He has bein doing it since he was 7. They do different streches on the horse and make it fun. It has greatly increased Christians balance.

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