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Hippotherapy Center in Ufa
March 27, 2014 15:48


Federation of Hippotherapy to be established in the Republic of Bashkortostan. Horses will help to rehabilitate disabled people.

Presently, the rehabilitation of children with disabilities by the use of hippotherapy is provided by several organizations in the republic, but most of them offer paid services. The new center opened last January at Akbuzat hippodrome in Ufa. Here, disabled kids are provided with free of charge help once a week. Due to insufficient financing the center cannot receive everyone. At the same time, the number of those, who were recommended therapeutic horseback riding, is growing throughout the republic.

In future, the Center of Hippotherapy plans to organize trainings of coaches in this field of rehabilitation, and there is already an agreement to conduct courses for students of pedagogical university, GTRK "Bashkortostan" reports.

The issue of establishing a republican Federation of Hippotherapy and the branch of Russian Society of Therapeutic Horseback Riding cannot be put off any longer. Thanks to the activity of these organizations the disabled people will have more opportunities not only for practicing hippotherapy for therapeutic purposes, but also for the development of Paralympic equestrian sports.

Experts note that the therapeutic horseback riding has already proved its effectiveness. During the lessons, the rider puts to work all the muscle groups of his body    simultaneously. As to patients with the diagnosis of "cerebral palsy", they start engaging muscles that usually are inactive in everyday life.

Besides that, the riding stimulates development of fine motor skills, enhances perseverance and improves harmonious perception of the world of patients with mental disorders of varying severity. Such effects cannot be achieved using other means of adaptive physical education.

According to the American Hippotherapy Association, the therapy is ”a physical, occupational, and speech-language therapy treatment strategy that utilizes equine movement as part of an integrated intervention program to achieve functional outcomes. Equine movement provides multidimensional movement, which is variable, rhythmic and repetitive. The horse provides a dynamic base of support, making it an excellent tool for increasing trunk strength and control, balance, building overall postural strength and endurance, addressing weight bearing, and motor planning. Equine movement offers well-modulated sensory input to vestibular, proprioceptive, tactile and visual channels.”

Riding a horse requires an individual to use many of their senses, as well as a variety of muscle groups. While some riders may require assistance riding a horse, others may be able to ride a horse by themselves with supervision or with someone leading the horse. A rider does not have to have any experience with horses prior to receiving these therapy sessions, but individuals who are afraid of horses may not be good candidates for this type of treatment program. 

Depending upon the type of disability, individuals who receive hippotherapy are first introduced to their horse that will be used in a treatment session. The horses are specially trained to be patient and alert to their handlers. Individuals are not left alone with a horse, and a handler is always either leading the horse for those who cannot control one, or close by for those who are able to guide their own horse. 

Therapy sessions may include trail rides, riding inside of a large stable that has a riding arena or riding inside of an outdoor ring. Individuals may ride a horse astride either facing forwards or backwards, sitting sidesaddle and lying prone or supine. Some patients ride the horse with the assistance of another individual with them on the horse (such as an adult holding a child). The therapist can adjust the horse’s movements and tempo according to the needs of the patient. For this reason, therapists must have a unique understanding of horses, as well as the physical therapy needs of a patient.

Hippotherapy can be recommended by an individual’s physician or physical therapist. Individuals and caregivers who are interested in this type of therapy should consult with their health insurance company prior to beginning therapy sessions to determine what portion of the cost will be covered. Some insurance companies will only cover a certain number of sessions, while others will provide coverage as long as a patient is making progress as determined by their therapist.




Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Health Bashkiria Ufa   

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