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Hippotherapy

Hippotherapy is one form of multifaceted rehabilitation for people with disabilities, characterized by the presence of a horse as a co-therapist. It is a method that, thanks to the multifaceted therapeutic properties of the horse, allows for improvement in the health and functioning of individuals with various conditions.

The movement of a walking horse transfers actions to the body of the person sitting on it, allowing for:
* improvement and even shaping of a proper walking pattern,
* normalization of muscle tension, counteracting muscle contractions and joint mobility limitations,
* correction of posture defects and restoration of body posture symmetry,
* reduction of balance disorders,
* improvement of hand-eye coordination,
* increased physical endurance,
* relaxation, calming, and reduction of nervous excitability.

Contact with a horse, a beautiful, large, impressive, mysterious yet friendly and cooperative animal, allows for:
* improvement of self-worth,
* increased motivation to work on overcoming one's illness and its resulting limitations, enhancing motivation for effort and consistency needed in rehabilitation (particularly important for children),
* fostering a sense of agency and achieving greater independence,
* overcoming fear and resistance to contact with the social environment,
* increased motivation to establish closer contact and improve communication with the world, improving social behaviors, fostering sensitivity, responsibility, nurturing, and other desired social behaviors.

hippotherapy

Hippotherapy aims to restore health and improve functioning with the help of a horse and horseback riding.

It is primarily intended for:
* Intellectually impaired individuals, those with visual or hearing impairments,
* socially maladjusted individuals, as well as those
* recovering from illnesses leaving lasting effects on physical and mental fitness.

Hippotherapy is one of the rehabilitation methods for people with disabilities. The presence of a horse makes it a unique and unparalleled therapy. It provides entirely new and unprecedented possibilities compared to other therapies. Hippotherapy is also a part of medical rehabilitation and is conducted by a specialist, upon a doctor's order.

The goal of horse-assisted therapy and horseback riding therapy is to restore physical and mental fitness to the extent possible. The horse is a "co-therapist" - a pleasant companion. During therapy, a strong emotional bond is formed between the horse and the patient. For individuals with low physical activity, horseback riding provides an opportunity for movement and neuromotor stimulation.

Selection recommendations for horses for hippotherapy:
* Calm with a balanced temperament,
* Should not fear accessories used by the disabled for movement,
* Should not have tendencies to buck, kick, bite, or rear up.

The best horse is one that allows itself to be petted, does not neigh too often, does not have a tendency to escape, is trusting toward strangers, does not react violently to insects, accepts the rider's high mobility on its back and frequent changes in weight distribution, stands still when stopped, and responds to verbal commands. Horses aged 6 to 15 years are most suitable (at this age, horses are calmer, more balanced, and experienced).

Hippotherapy is a multifaceted rehabilitation method because, through the multifaceted interactions with the horse, it allows for improvement in many disrupted areas of functioning. The benefits of hippotherapy can be experienced by individuals with various illnesses and dysfunctions. However, there are conditions, diseases, and disorders in which hippotherapy may even cause harm. For this reason, each patient participating in hippotherapy sessions must have a referral and explicit consent from a doctor for this type of therapy, along with confirmation of the absence of contraindications. However, not all doctors are well-versed in the specifics of this method and its contraindications. Therefore, despite a referral, the final decision on participating in hippotherapy, as well as the form, timing, and type of sessions, is always made by the hippotherapist.



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