Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A perfect day-weather wise. Both an almost 3 year old who has gravitational insecurity and a 4 year old with Down's syndrome surprised me in that they were willing to be positioned prone over the horse's barrel (like supergirl) while putting large rings on the cones. Then they both tolerated holding onto me while in this position as we walked around the arena.
Although I am an OT, I work on lot on increasing speech output and started to use hand over hand clapping to encourage use two words consecutively - such as- "more trot". A little boy who is highly distractible can repeat each single word after me and I think he is starting to connect clapping his hands two times with my expectation that he accompany each clap with a word.  

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Toy animals on trail

Another staff person put toy animals out on the trail. the pony shown in this photo is on the tractor. I have been wanting to do this for years but was told that the toys would disturb the horses. I don't know how she got permission to do this but it was fantastic. The children loved looking for the animals. I asked them to pull the reins to stop when they saw a toy. One little girl was able to stop and then show the toy animal her "tricks" including: sit ups, push ups, posting, around the world arm circles and touching right hand to left foot and right hand to left foot. 
Its scary to think of what can happen when horses are following each other so closely and one is leg by such a small child. But some of the children seem to really benefit from copying the others, although some of the time they are all doing different things. I loved seeing the child at the the very end walk over the poles in the center of the arena to use some of that great sensory stimulation to functional use!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Decreased Head and Postural Control

This video demonstrates how simply walking works on head and trunk control. That helmet looks really heavy for a child working so hard to keep his head up. Maybe one of the lighter foam or cloth helmets would be better. When I took my AHA courses-the PT even suggested no helmet, which sounded like heresy to me.   

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

All my kids did great today and were enjoying the sunny weather. My star client who has many sensory issues including gravitational insecurity stood on top of the horse while pulling pop it beads off a chain, one by one. She squatted to place each inside the basket attached to the tack. Then she did around the world while standing on top of the horse.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Here's an article about baby and toddler hypotonia. Hippotherapy is great for increasing muscle tone, especially if the horse has jerky movements. The therapist can do lots of stop and go sequences (half halts),  change speeds and walk over poles to create different movement experiences that might increase tone.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Cones on poles while weaving

This is such a simple but wonderful activity that makes the child aware of her body's position and need to reach in either left or right directions as the poles change from being on her left to right to left side. This is also a great way to encourage transitions to sitting backwards or sideways as needed to reach the cones. I wish I worked at a place that allowed this type of activity set up.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I can see his  body awareness improving over the session!! One trick I learned is to walk the horse in tight circles so that the child is even more aware that he is falling off to one side and needs to get centered.