Texas Children with Disabilities Benefit from Horseback Riding

As Texans, we're bound heart and soul to horses--the most popular mode of travel in the earliest years of our state and still a preferred mode of travel for many Texans today. In war and peace, horses have been a symbol of perseverance, strength, and spirit. If you think horses are becoming obsolete in a world rampant with technology, think again. Just a simple ride on a horse can make a world of difference to children with disabilities.

It's called hippotherapy, kids love every minute of it--and it happens on a horse.

hippotherapy-woman-with-horse

 

Mobility issues are the result of a number of conditions, like cerebral palsy. Though hippotherapy first emerged in the 1960s in Germany, just a few years ago the therapy using horses was updated in a study designed by Tim Shurtleff OTD, OTR/L. He measured the benefits of short-term equine therapy on the trunk stability of participating children. Trunk stability--the ability of an individual to maintain balance of the upper portion of the body--is often the reason many patients with cerebral palsy cannot walk, even if their legs are functional.

Over the last few years, research conducted by physicians and therapists at distinguished medical institutions confirmed hippotherapy's therapeutic benefits. Patients were initially tested in a laboratory setting wearing reflective sensors and filmed while riding a mechanical barrel that mimicked the movements of a horse. Six cameras collected the data of the movements of the rider and sent it to a computer. The computer rendered this information into an image that allowed researchers to capture a baseline view of the stability and balance problems of each child. When subsequent views of the patients showed definite improvement in stability and balance, the therapy became widely accepted and is used around the world to help children with disabilities.

hippotherapy-boy-with-sensors

 

Now children with mobility issues spend time in the saddle as a means of improving physical strength and balance. Over the course of a session, the motions of the horse require the riders to adjust their balance three to five thousand times. What's more, the children retain the benefits for months after therapy ends. And the therapy has also proven successful for children with autism, multiple sclerosis, brain injury, ADD, stroke, cancer, brain injury, spinal cord injury, and other conditions.

There are a number of therapeutic riding facilities in Texas, including R.O.C.K., Ride On Center for Kids, located in Georgetown, Texas. This non-profit provider of therapeutic riding and hippotherapy for individuals with cognitive and physical challenges, like similar organizations in the state, are changing the lives of children every day:

 

Still, some health insurance companies are hesitant to cover the treatment, but parents are hoping that will change in the future. Meanwhile, hippotherapy just gives us Texans one more reason to adore our horses.

Sources:
http://www.rockride.org/
http://www.actha.us/acthaspotlight/2011/07/disability-resource-assoc-st-louis-actha-series/
http://www.stltoday.com/suburban-journals/ride-on-st-louis-raising-funds-through-search-engine/article_cc9d2c3c-e027-5f5d-b485-de60a4e49d7b.html
http://www.stltoday.com/suburban-journals/kimmswick-sponsors-sought-to-expand-equine-therapy-program/article_7b0e3d3e-f5b9-515b-bb26-11102cdf6d72.html
http://www.stltoday.com/suburban-journals/kimmswick-study-on-equine-therapy-proves-results/article_6c5bfd0b-ea2c-559e-b8cb-5ba2e56142b0.html

Video source:
http://vimeo.com/johnnygadgetfilms

More Articles

Lack of Accessibility in Austin Texas
Anita Thompson, who uses a wheelchair, has recently relocated to Austin, Texas. She was astonished to find the lack of accessibility in the city. Thompson finds the deficiency of handicap accessibility in local communities to be quite alarming. read more...
Texas Woman Receiving Double Arm Transplant
Katy Hayes, a 44-year-old mother, will be the first person in the United States to receive a double arm transplant. The transplants will be attached above her elbows. read more...
North Texas Giving Day
The Movin' Mavs wheelchair basketball team and the Adaptive Sports Program participated in an event sponsored by the Communities Foundation of Texas. The event was called the North Texas Giving Day, and took place on September 13th, 2012. The organization received 32 donations, accumulating more than $2,600. read more...
Dallas Scientist Becomes His Own Experiment While Fighting ALS
Tony Wood from Dallas, TX, has been co-creating technology that helps grow plants in water. Miraculously, the technology has also shown promising results in treating neuro-inflammatory diseases such as muscular dystrophy, Parkinson's, and asthma. Wood was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease. Shortly after, he realized the oxygen-infused saline he helped create might have potential to treat his diagnosis as well. read more...
Injured Vega Football Player Receives Donated Wheelchair Van
Vega, Texas-Gridiron Heroes Spinal Cord Injury Foundation will be donating a wheelchair-accessible van to Luis Morales. He was injured while playing high school football last September. Morales collided with a retaining wall after he was pushed out of bounds. The collision caused a C-5/C-6 spinal cord injury. The injury left him paralyzed. This will be the first wheelchair-accessible vehicle the family has used since the incident last year. read more...
San Antonio Disabled Soccer Program Changes Lives
The mission of South Texas Regional Adaptive and Paralympic Soccer (STRAPS) is to organize, promote, administer and conduct wheelchair, power chair, Paralympic, Amputee and Special Olympic soccer programs for both adults and youth and to organize, host and conduct regional and national clinics and competitions for Adaptive and Paralympic Soccer. read more...
Military Veteran Receives Intraspinal Injections of Reprogrammed Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cell reprogramming could help people with neural-related conditions such as spinal cord injuries, MS and Parkinson's. read more...
Handicap Careers and High Speed Therapy with Racing4Vets
Racing4Vets is an organization geared to provide U.S. military veterans disabled in the line of duty with the opportunity to train for careers in motorsports, and even drive a race car. read more...
Project Walk Gives People with Spinal Cord Injuries Hope
Dallas, Texas, Wheelchair Entrepreneur Kendall Hall opens a spinal cord rehabilitation center called Project Walk. "We take a full body approach, and we get you out of your wheelchair..." read more...
AMS Vans Delivers for Muscular Dystrophy Muscle Walk
In a change of pace from delivering wheelchair vans nationwide, the team from AMS Vans showed their support for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) by delivering bags filled with bottled water, koozies, and chapstick to the walkers at Houston's Galleria Mall Saturday, April 27th for the 2013 Muscular Dystrophy Muscle Walk. read more...
Texas Girl Writes Letter to Drunk Driver Who Left Her Paralyzed
Xitclalli Vasquez from Fort Worth, TX, was paralyzed after an automobile collision involving a drunk driver. The accident happened just days before her 8th birthday. The young girl has written a letter to the man responsible for paralyzing her. read more...
Texas Children with Disabilities Benefit from Horseback Riding

Horse riding therapy--also known as equine therapy or hippotherapy--is a great for the body and the soul of Texas kids with disabilities.

read more...
A Texan Helps Iraqi Children with Disabilities
When a US battalion surgeon spoke to him about the urgent need for wheelchairs in the war-torn country, Blauser stepped up, leaving base during non-working hours to deliver wheelchairs, often accompanied by military convoys into towns during the post-invasion conflict. read more...

Other Categories


Buy Sell Trade
Commercial Wheelchair Vans
DARS
Links
Your submission contained some errors, please correct and resubmit:

Done reviewing, return to form
submitting...