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Utilization of Hippotherapy and Therapeutic Riding for children with disabilities as an adjunct to traditional therapies

1 January 2015


Aims: This study examines evidence regarding the use of hippotherapy (HPOT) and therapeutic riding (THR) for children with cerebral palsy (CP) and autism. Methods: A comprehensive database search was conducted to obtain articles on HPOT or THR with children with autism and CP. Results: Nine articles were included for CP with all but two demonstrating positive results. Five articles were included for autism with all articles demonstrating positive results. Conclusions: Positive outcomes were associated with either HPOT or THR, suggesting that efficacy of THR and HPOT is increasing. However, many of the reviewed articles had methodological design limitations. More randomized studies with larger sample sizes that utilize valid and reliable quantitative and qualitative outcome measures are needed. The Goal Attainment Scale (GAS) was recommended for measuring outcomes. There is a need for data on use of outcome measures for HPOT treatment so as to determine whether hippotherapy is an efficacious treatment strategy.


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