Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


The impact of equine movement on speech motor control during hippotherapy and therapeutic riding


Communication Sciences and Disorders


College of Health Professions

Date Range



Medicine and Health Sciences


Horses have been incorporated into both recreational riding for persons with disabilities (therapeutic riding) and medical rehabilitation (hippotherapy) since the 1960s. The foundation of both is the relationship between the horse and the client. The goal of therapeutic riding is improved quality of life while the goal of hippotherapy is improvement toward physical, occupational, or speech therapy treatment goals. The client is on the horse in both disciplines and receives the benefit of the horse's movement. The purpose of this research study was to examine the impact of the horse's movement across both therapeutic riding and hippotherapy. Speech articulation measures were recorded before and after either therapeutic riding sessions or hippotherapy treatment sessions for 165 clients with dysarthria (motor speech disorders). Results indicated the greatest improvements followed speech therapy/hippotherapy sessions followed by physical therapy and occupational therapy sessions. There was a trend toward improvement after therapeutic riding sessions, but the results were not statistically significant. Differenes and similarities between hippotherapy and therapeutic riding will be discussed.

Conference Name

Horses in Edudation and Therapy International Conference

Conference Location

Taipei City, Taiwan

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