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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I am thinking about having my son begin with hippotherapy. I had been thinking about it for a long time but just couldn't find a place where we live that had hippotherapy. You wouldn't believe it, tonight I am sitting watching the news and a stable close to where I live is going to begin having a program called Healing Horses. I was wondering, is there anything I should be aware of, be on the look out for or even questions I should ask. I am really excited and hope that Hayden enjoys this. He does not have any friends (except his cousin who is 17) that have DMD. All of his friends are playing T-ball and soccer. I just really want him to have an activity that he can do.
Hi Jessica:

The head instructor at Special Equestrians where Jacob goes riding just answered your question. Here is her answer.
"There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong saddle for therapeutic riding – as long as the rider is safe and comfortable. Hippotherapy is done only by a licensed and trained OT, so that wouldn’t be done by the uncle in the question, but normally OTs put riders on pads, with a surcingle to hold everything on, so that the rider has to stretch less and gets more direct postural alignment, movement, and warmth from the horse.

Since I don’t know anything about the rider in the question, I don’t know if he’d be more comfortable in an English or Western saddle, or with just pads and a surcingle. I’m sure the uncle will take every precaution to make sure that the equipment fits the horse and is safe for the rider to use. Just my pet peeve – I sure hope the rider will wear an ASTM/SEI approved helmet!!"

Jessica Rownd said:
Thanks so much, Jacobs Mommom

Jacobs Mommom said:
Hi Jessica:

To be honest with you I'm not sure but will ask when I take Jacob tomorrow. I do know that the woman who volunteer there were all specifically trained to do hippotherapy. There is really a lot of though that goes into Jacob's sessions. Jacob rides different horses because they have different gaits and sizes and that all plays a part of the session also. I will try to get more information for you.

Jessica Rownd said:
Is there a special saddle that is used during therapy or do they just use the regular riding saddle? My uncle has a horse and would love to get Wyatt on it but he wanted to know if he needed anythin special for him. Thanks.
My son Levi just started & LOVES it. He does not have cognitive issues but some of the other kids in the class who are on Austism spectrum seem to truly enjoy it. I've spoken to the parents & they say their children's communication has improved.
Hi, my son Logan is 5 and he started hippotherapy last summer. He does it once a week for 6 weeks, in fact, he starts tonight! He LOVES it. We are fortunate enough to have an awesome group of volunteers in a nearby town who operate the program, called Great Strides. I don't know how much it's helped him, but every time they lift him up onto that horse, he has a huge smile on his face, which is enough for me:)

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