Children's Advisory Network

Wee Ride!

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The speech-language pathologist is able to use horse movement to facilitate the systems that support speech and language. When combined with other standard speech-language intervention strategies, the speech-language pathologist is able to generate effective remediation of communication disorders and promote functional communication outcomes.

During hippotherapy, the movement of the horse moves the rider’s pelvis in the correct way, while also stimulating other ligaments, bones, and joints. A horse moves a person in more than one way, by tilting, rotating, and moving the rider, which would take a whole session of difficult physical therapy exercises to achieve. Sitting on a horse improves core muscle strength, muscle symmetry, balance, posture, flexibility, circulation, coordination, and breathing (which also makes it easier to speak). The excitement of riding encourages speech when the rider wants to communicate with the therapist and the horse. Non-verbal autistic children have suddenly started talking when they use the horse’s name or ask the horse to get moving!


Hippotherapy comes from the Greek word (hippos/horse) and finds its earliest recorded mention in the ancient Greek writings of Hippocrates. Hippotherapy became a formal therapy in the 1960′s in German, Austria, and Switzerland as an addition to traditional physical therapy. Since then research has shown many more amazing effects to this type of therapy as it helps to develop core muscles which are connected to all other muscles in the body.