Hippotherapy for children and adults

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Hippotherapy for children and adults
Hippotherapy for children and adults

Definition of hippotherapy as an important assistant in the process of rehabilitation after many ailments. Its essence and stages of carrying out, the main methods and types of exercises used for this today. Hippotherapy is a type of therapeutic action that is performed with the help of horses. For the first time, Hippocrates spoke about such useful properties of riding. And already at the end of the 18th century, the famous philosopher Denis Diderot described in his monographs the successful results of similar experiments on various patients. This therapy is based on the complex effects of exercise on the entire human body.

Indications for hippotherapy

Hippotherapy classes are a unique method in modern medical practice, which implies the patient's passive work, which reduces the load on his body. This feature makes treatment available at the earliest stages of recovery and speeds up the process as a whole. Moreover, the availability and simplicity explain the widespread use of therapy among all age groups of the population, without reducing the effectiveness and the final result.

Why do you need hippotherapy for children?

Boy with cerebral palsy on a wheelchair

Every year, more and more children of different age groups appear in the rehabilitation centers who need effective treatment. The search for better methods of assistance led to hippotherapy. Classes with horses can benefit and improve the well-being of babies with various organic pathologies and psycho-emotional disorders.

The main indications for hippotherapy for children:

  • Cerebral palsy… A huge problem that plagues many parents who want to help their child become a full-fledged member of society. Exercises with horses help not only physically improve the patient's condition, but also correct his emotional background. That is why hippotherapy is popular among doctors treating this pathology.
  • Polio… A similar disease, despite the availability of vaccinations and all kinds of prevention methods, still occurs among other problems. The disorders that arise in this case are also difficult to correct, the patient requires a long and thorough rehabilitation in the future. Flaccid paralysis makes the child dependent, complicates his life and creates obstacles in the process of treatment. It is this type of therapy that is indicated because of the possibility of performing exercises without the efforts of the baby himself, but only by passive influence on his musculoskeletal system.
  • Curvature of the spine… A problem that often haunts many children. Incorrect posture with the onset of kyphosis or lordosis is not a pleasant phenomenon. Medical horse riding is able not only to correct existing violations, but also to prevent their development in general. Moving and maintaining balance on the horse gives the spine its natural position and also strengthens the muscular system of the chest and back.
  • Traumatic injury… Because of this reason, there is a huge number of pathological conditions that require correction. Most often they relate to the bone, muscular and nervous systems, which need to be restored. It is with the help of hippotherapy that you can achieve clear success in a short period of time.
  • Postoperative rehabilitation… At this time, it is very difficult to start vigorous activity due to the physical weakness of the patient. But in this case, this load can be transferred to the horse.It performs many movements and activates the baby's joints instead of him, thereby stimulating the receptor zones. The results of such exercises sometimes exceed all expectations and hopes.
  • Socially maladjusted adolescents… This is a group of the population with whom it is very difficult to establish contact, and even more so to change their worldview and outlook on life. Existing character and mental disorders often give rise to prescribing hippotherapy as a treatment. Horse riding, as well as the horse riding itself, has a beneficial effect on the emotional state of such children.

How can hippotherapy help adults?

Man's head injury

It is sometimes much more difficult to put a mature person on his feet than a child, because he tends to depressive states and the spirit of struggle for his own recovery is often too small. It is very difficult to influence the psychology of such a patient, and in search of a reliable remedy, they resort to the help of horses. It is known that it is their gracefulness, calmness that can inspire and guide you on the true path. Consider when it is advisable to engage in hippotherapy for adults:

  1. Consequences of acute cerebrovascular accident… Depending on the localization of this focus, a person can experience a wide variety of pathologies. These are paralysis of the upper and lower extremities, loss or decrease in vision, impairment of cognitive functions and memory. Various combinations of such conditions are often encountered.
  2. Recovery after operations… After any surgical intervention, the patient requires long-term care. And he does not always need exactly peace, sometimes, on the contrary, an early start of physical activity. Since it is impossible to load a completely sick organism, then practically passive movements on a horse will come in handy in this case.
  3. Head injury… They can leave behind small external manifestations, but are fraught with serious disturbances in the behavior and mental functions of a person. Very often these are neurological consequences or memory problems. And it is hippotherapy that can bring such patients back to life.
  4. Lesions of the sense organs… The loss of this or that way of knowing the world makes a person disabled, which creates enormous difficulties in everyday life. Therefore, in order to restore them back, it is important to make every effort. Working with horses allows you to use your existing abilities instead of those that are lost.
  5. Mental illness… A group of patients with similar ailments requires a very careful approach to the choice of treatment method. It is very difficult to work with them and find a common language. But in the course of many experiments, it has been found that spending time with horses helps patients return to real life. Many hallucinations disappear, there is a desire to talk, ride, adapt to what is happening around.

Methods and stages of hippotherapy

Little boy riding a horse

These trainings can take place in a wide variety of ways. It all depends on the type of pathology with which the patient came. If it concerns restriction in movements, then sparing options are used, but if the problem is psychological, more active and lively. The selection of one or another option is carried out in a complex manner, by several specialists at once, who make up the further training program.

There are four main methods of hippotherapy:

  • Horse movement as a healing process… Based on the fact that the patient lies directly on the back of the animal. That, in turn, under the strict guidance of a doctor and a rider, makes small slow steps around the arena. The patient can be both on his back and on his stomach at this time. Most often, the position is changed and made more varied with each lesson. This method is well suited for patients with paralysis and problems with limitation of movements.
  • Horseback riding… A more dynamic therapy option that can be prescribed even for babies from six months.The horse is initially simply driven in a circle to adapt the patient, and then the gymnastics instructor joins. It is he who makes people perform some other exercises at the same time, change their position. All this can happen both in motion and standing still. It is also possible to use aids in the form of balls, ribbons and sticks.
  • Therapeutic vaulting… For the treatment of many psychoemotional diseases, it is required to distract and return a person to reality. To do this, you need to make him retire and listen to his body. After establishing contact, they resort to performing these tasks directly. They are similar to gymnastics, but on the back of a horse. It takes the patient's complete confidence to relax and do tricks on horseback.
  • Establishing psychological contact… Most often, this technique is used for children. They are the ones who are so shy that they have to fight it through animals. Special instructors spend the whole day with them, teach them how to iron and feed. Thus, a person abstracts from what is around, can focus on his desires and recovery.

To achieve the desired effect from this therapy, it is necessary to correctly perform all its stages. This applies to both reliable indications and the individual selection of the horse for each patient. Even the smallest little things matter that can affect the course of the healing process. It is important to take good care of the horse, follow the rules of his personal hygiene, buy and use combs and shampoos after each session.

There are a number of mandatory modules that must be present in the course of hippotherapy classes:

  1. Acquaintance… The patient's first impression of the proposed treatment is very important. You need to familiarize him with the venue, show the horse, pay attention to its friendliness and kindness. Then you can offer to pat and wait for a calm behavior. The reaction of people is often very welcoming, and such moments allow them to become even more interested in such sessions.
  2. Mounting… At the beginning of training, this is done mostly passively and compulsorily. Patients are rarely able to do it themselves, but they do not resist either. With each subsequent lesson, the role of the instructor should decrease more and more and consist only in correcting the patient's independent attempts. Give someone a boost, hold somewhere or hedge.
  3. First trial lesson… It is necessary so that the patient has time to get used to the animal and become interested in it. During the same period, the instructor and the hippotherapist observe and evaluate the possibilities and options for performing exercises, relying on the strength of the person. A training plan is drawn up, according to which they will be carried out in the future.
  4. Basic sessions… This is the main part of the whole therapy, which is regular training with the implementation of a selected program. Each of them is supervised by a doctor and adjusts the exercises depending on the patient's condition. They can become more complex, they can be changed or simplified. Also, the patient's vital activity and his psychological health are monitored after class.

Basic exercises in hippotherapy

Communication of a girl with a horse in hippotherapy classes

Today there are so many of them that it is simply impossible to apply them to one person. Only the best combinations are used that are most suitable for the patient. It takes into account both gender, age, constitution, and the complexity of the underlying disease with which he came.

If this is a psychological problem, then the emphasis is on bringing people and animals closer together. More time is spent on feeding the horse, brushing it. In the presence of pathology of the musculoskeletal system, enhanced physical exercises of hippotherapy and the regularity of their repetition are required.

Let's take a look at the main exercises:

  • Action one… The person is seated astride the horse, the back should be straight, and the arms should be lowered along the body. He should try to maintain this position while the instructor leads the animal around the arena, varying the speed and length of its stride. The main purpose of this exercise is to provide a physiological position to the spine in motion, without stress on its lower limbs.
  • Second action… The patient should sit in the starting position, but turn his back to the horse's head. His tasks remain the same. The main thing is to keep the posture correct and maintain balance while the breeder forces the horse to walk along the arena, accelerating and stopping from time to time.
  • Act three… The patient sits sideways to the head of the animal with the upper and lower limbs lowered down. The face can be turned both to the right and to the left. It depends on the pathology of the patient himself and what the hippotherapist considers correct. Further, the breeder continues to lead the horse along the arena, changing the speed and pace of its movement.
  • Act four… It consists in placing the person with his stomach up on his back to the animal. The legs and arms should be relaxed and lowered along the line of the horse's ribs. The head should initially face the mane and then the tail. The patient's job is to hold in the starting position with the same series of steps. The exercise is aimed at training the shoulder and hip joints.
  • Fifth action… A person should change his position and lie with his stomach on the back of the horse, bending his arms with emphasis on the elbows, and hug the hind part with his legs. Then, having made several circles in this position, the patient now turns around with his feet to the head, but with the same initial position. The horse breeder then repeats a few more leisurely steps and stops.
  • Act six… Its essence lies in the prone position, across the horse. At the same time, the patient's arms and legs hang freely on both sides. The task of the horse breeder remains, and the person tries to maintain the adopted posture.

What is hippotherapy - see the video:

Hippotherapy treatment is gaining in popularity every year. Many pathologies today have ceased to be incurable thanks to these exercises. An integrated approach and the involvement of qualified specialists can put a person on their feet and return to their normal life.

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