Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology
Copyright © 2014 Mac Keith Press
Edited By: Peter Baxter and Hilary Hart.
Impact Factor: 3.292
ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2013: 8/117 (Pediatrics); 48/194 (Clinical Neurology)
Online ISSN: 1469-8749
Virtual Issue Collection: Hippotherapy and Therapeutic Horse Riding
Welcome to Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology’s Virtual Issue on Hippotherapy and Therapeutic Horse Riding
All articles and commentaries are freely available and have been specially selected by the editors.
Sports therapies have an increasingly prominent place in providing enjoyment and participation for people with neurological and developmental disorders. Horseback riding is particularly popular and addition to its appeal as a fun activity in which horse and rider establish a close relationship, it has the ability to engage people with a wide range of physical difficulties (e.g. cerebral palsy with Gross Motor Function Classification System levels I–V) and social/communication and cognitive difficulties (e.g. autism and intellectual disability).
Hippotherapy (from the Greek hippos [horse]) is a form of physical therapy in which a licensed therapist uses the characteristic movements of a horse as a therapeutic intervention or tool. Therapeutic horse riding (where specific horse riding skills are taught) is conducted by non-therapist riding instructors and assistants who select target objectives based on the person’s individual physical and social needs.
There is some research evidence of observable benefits in terms of motor ability, balance, and postural adjustment. A limited number of studies have been carried out and many have the drawback of small numbers and lack of a control group. Some advocate the use of single-subject design. Conclusions about functional gains have often been somewhat tentative but there is sufficient interest in the discipline to examine the evidence and encourage further systematic study.
We present five articles on the subject including two review articles (one a meta-analysis) which illustrate the existing levels of evidence and also the challenges involved in conducting studies in the field.
Effects of hippotherapy and therapeutic horseback riding on postural control or balance in children with cerebral palsy: a meta-analysis
A randomized controlled trial of therapeutic horse riding on the quality of life, health, and function of children with cerebral palsy
Does horseback riding therapy or therapist-directed hippotherapy rehabilitate children with cerebral palsy?
Horseback riding in children with cerebral palsy: effect on gross motor function
Effect of an equine-movement therapy program on gait, energy expenditure, and motor function in children with spastic cerebral palsy: a pilot study