Hippotherapy (otherwise known as Equine Therapy) has absolutely rocked our worlds. It has been one of the VERY best things we have done for Abi. Not only does it provide her with an amazing medium for strengthening muscles, breaking up tone, and gaining head and neck control- It provides an activity that is HERS.
My friend Alison (who introduced me to equine therapy) told me in our very first conversation- that this was her daughter’s “thing.” It was her extracurricular activity. Her sister plays softball… and she rides horses.
Although some insurance companies don’t cover hippotherapy – we view it as an expense that we would spend on any other activity she showed interested in- dance or music lessons for example.
Since day 1, Abiella has absolutely lit up when we go to the stables. Her horse, Cheyenne, is a household name among friends and family members, and they ask Abi about her all the time. She gets to pet Cheyenne after she rides and it’s just a really fun relationship to watch.
From a therapy standpoint- I truly believe riding horses has helped her in a number of ways. She is holding her neck up straighter and for longer periods of time- her torso is stronger- and her head control is gaining. When we first arrived she would leave her head dropped for long periods of time. Two weeks ago she broke a personal record by going around the arena 6 AND A HALF TIMES with her head held high.
Our afternoons riding horses are magical. Seeing Abi on a horse also means a lot to me personally. Growing up, I lived on a working horse farm and week-long trail rides were a staple in our summer plans. To see Abi enjoying something that meant so much to me as a child is truly a remarkable experience.