Effects of Hippotherapy on Postural Control in Children with Cerebral Palsy

Kara Mueser is a student at Towson University and a previous summer intern at URS. She is back this fall at URS and is studying the Effects of Hippotherapy on Postural Control in Children with Cerebral Palsy.

Cerebral Palsy (CP) is the most common motor disability in children. Around the world, CP effects anywhere from 1.5 to more than 4 per 1,000 live births. CP is a congenital disorder of movement, muscle tone, and posture.

Hippotherapy is adapted equine riding for people with disabilities who receive one-on-one therapist to client attention experiencing equine movement to benefit client relaxation, muscle strength, and coordination.

There is preliminary data that hippotherapy conducted by Occupational Therapists relieves exaggerated reflexes, low or high muscle tone, and involuntary motions, starting with more postural control over the body in children with CP. The effects of hippotherapy lead to a better quality of life by alleviating symptoms of the condition and provide insurance companies the information they need to provide funding for services. The goal is to use video clips of subjects to show improvement during hippotherapy sessions. Our hypothesis is, if there are hippotherapy treatment sessions conducted by an Occupational Therapist for at least one month then there will be improved strength in postural control for a better quality of life.