Long time beliefs about the positive effects regarding hippotherapy are strongly held. Now, results are showing that hippotherapy is indeed improving trunk/head stability. “The evidence collected by the Washington University team only confirmed what experts and parents have been saying for years: horse therapy can make a huge difference in the life of a child.” – Nancy Pasternak, Riding for Life

Researchers, therapists and parents are hoping the study results will open equine therapy to a wider pool.  “A lot of people are not able to get the therapy because they can’t afford to pay for it and if we can show that the therapy is effective, that it makes a difference for people and we have solid, scientific data to show it, then insurance companies are really obligated to respond.” – Tim Shurtleff, Washington University researcher

The “Changes in Dynamic Trunk/Head Stability and Functional Research After Hippotherapy” study shows positive changes in trunk/head stability after riding.  The experience of riding a horse provides a patient rider with 3,000-5,000 repetitions in 45 minute hippotherapy session.  More extensive studies will help provide the necessary proof in hopes that insurance companies will pay on these claims being submitted by those they underwrite.

Researchers say they were also impressed that children sustained the benefits of horse therapy for several months after their riding sessions stopped.