Liz Sang Watson, Registered Occupational Therapist
Great Strides Therapy
14091 Scio Church Road, Chelsea, MI 48118
greatstrides@earthlink.net
(734) 428-7210

Hippotherapy is Occupational, Physical or Speech therapy treatment using the movement of a horse as a therapeutic tool. Therapy is provided in a natural, sensory rich environment. The human/animal bond and active participation in the process benefits the patient physically and emotionally.

What happens during a hippotherapy session?

  • During treatment the therapist positions the patient and uses the movement of the horse to promote active responses in the patient.
  • Variations in the horse´s movement directed by the therapist promote variations in patient’'s response.
  • Modifications in the horse´s movement promote patient gains in functional abilities used in activities of daily living.
  • Treatment is provided year-around in an indoor or outdoor arena.

The kick in this type of rehabilitation is that the movement of a horse is used as a therapeutic tool to address impairments, functional limitations and challenges in children and adults with neuro-musculo-skeletal dysfunction. The rhythmic repetitive movements of a horse´s walk are soothing and relax tight muscles. The rider does not control the horse but benefits from the movement of the animal

Traditional therapeutic techniques are integrated with the movement of the horse. The four beat gait of the horse simulates a person´s movement as if he/she is actually walking. Improved muscle tone, balance, reflexes, coordination, mobility and posture are seen as a result of hippotherapy treatment. Hippotherapy assists the patient to improve concentration, problem solving, self-esteem and fosters a sense of control.

Volunteers are an integral part of the Hippotherapy treatment team. The volunteer staff for each client consists of a horse leader and one or two side walkers for safety and assistance. Great Strides could not operate without our great volunteers!

Mission Statement
It is the mission of Great Strides Therapy to provide client -centered, outcome oriented rehabilitative therapy services for individuals with neurological or musculoskeletal challenges in an innovative, intrinsically motivating treatment setting.