Therapy

InStride is a member of the American Hippotherapy Association and has long been recognized as one of the leading therapy providers using hippotherapy as part of the treatment strategy in the Southeastern United States.

Hippotherapy

Hippotherapy is a physical, occupational, and speech-language therapy treatment strategy that utilizes the movement of a horse as part of an integrated intervention program to achieve functional outcomes. Hippotherapy literally means “treatment with the help of the horse” from the Greek word “hippos” meaning horse.
Incorporating hippotherapy into an occupational therapy, physical therapy or speech language pathology session can serve as a powerful tool benefiting key neuromotor systems that support function. Skillfully applied equine movement, under the direction of a licensed therapist, can offer the client the opportunity for complex motor learning.

Lilliana's Story

Why Horses?

The horse’s walk provides sensory input through movement, which is variable, rhythmic, and repetitive. The average horse walks at a rate of approximately 100 steps per minute, so 25 minutes of equine movement is equivalent to 2500 steps. Strength, Muscle Coordination and Sensory Processing used for walking, talking, and the use of fine motor skills for activities of daily living and general attention to tasks have all been shown to be positively impacted by equine movement, when under the direction of a skilled therapist, as part of a larger total plan of care. In addition, increased motivation and participation in treatment and social emotional benefits have been reported.
Therapy that incorporates hippotherapy uses activities on the horse that are meaningful to the client. Treatment takes place in a controlled environment where graded sensory input can elicit appropriate adaptive responses from the client. Specific riding skills are not taught (as in therapeutic riding), but rather a foundation is established for neurological function and sensory processing. This foundation can then be generalized to a wide array of daily activities.

Who can benefit from Hippotherapy?

Clients who may benefit from this therapy can have a variety of diagnoses: examples include but are not limited to Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Developmental Delay, Traumatic Brain Injury, Stroke, Autism and Learning or Language Disabilities. Clients as young as 18-months old may participate, however, hippotherapy is not for every client. Each potential client must be evaluated on an individual basis by specially trained health professionals.
For the safety of our clients and the safety and well-being of our horses, volunteers, and staff, clients may not exceed a weight of 175 pounds to participate in PT/OT/Speech therapy on horseback.

How do I enroll?

Enrollment in InStride’s therapy program begins with a prescription for physical, occupational, or speech/language therapy from a physician. An enrollment packet must be completed and turned in, along with the prescription. If the client has health insurance coverage or is a Medicaid recipient, authorization must be received prior to receiving services. Our medical insurance billing specialist will assist with getting services authorized.

Once the enrollment process is complete, clients will be scheduled for an evaluation by one of our specially trained therapists to identify goals and ensure that hippotherapy is an appropriate and safe treatment strategy for the client. Once the evaluation is complete, clients will be assigned a day/time for therapy.

Financial assistance is available to eligible clients who are not covered by health insurance or Medicaid. For more information, please contact us.


The American Hippotherapy Association was formed in 1993 to promote research, education and communication among PT, OT and SLP’s using the horse in a treatment approach based on principles of classic hippotherapy.

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1629 Ranch Rd • Nokomis, Florida 34275 • (941) 412-9333

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