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What the Heck Is Hippotherapy?

As part of my participation in Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-A-Thon on October 18th, I will be raising money to support a worthy, non profit charity: TRIPLE CREEK RANCH INC., Shasta County, Redding, California.

Triple Creek Ranch offers Equine Assisted Activities (including therapeutic horseback riding and Hippotherapy) to children and adults with physical, emotional, learning, and behavioral disability.

So what the heck IS Hippotherapy, you ask?

The American Hippotherapy Association (AHA) defines Hippotherapy as: “…a physical, occupational, and speech-language therapy treatment strategy that utilizes equine movement as part of an integrated intervention program to achieve functional outcomes.” In layman’s terms, this means that the therapist uses the horse’s movement as a tool toward achieving therapy goals such as improving muscle tone, balance, posture, coordination, and motor development. Below are some photos of Hippotherapy in action at Triple Creek Ranch

6 year old Cherry arrives in a wheelchair – but begins smiling as soon as she sees the horses.

Riding Red helps the muscles of her trunk and legs grow stronger – and she learns the balance she needs to sit unsupported…

The warmth of the horse and gentle, rhythmic movement helps relax tight muscles and stretch out stiff body parts…

This is a team that has fun while they work on the skills to independence!

Volunteer Team Members (Left to Right): Wendy (Physical Therapist), Brian (Lead Walker), Terri  (Occupational Therapist) and Cherry (student extraordinaire)

Do you want to help children like Cherry gain strength, mobility, and balance while experiencing the joy of riding a horse? Please donate to Triple Creek Ranch! To learn how, visit my post about this fundraising effort. By participating, you can also enter to win a free book.


  1. October 15, 2008    

    Great choice of charity! Round of applause!!! 🙂

  2. October 15, 2008    

    This is so amazing, Wendy. When I was in college I took part in an organization where we basically hung out with kids with different disabilities and long term illnesses. While it isn’t quite the same in terms of therapy, it is such a joy to see kids act like kids and forget all the other crap life shovels them–just to see the smile.

  3. October 17, 2008    

    Thanks, Andi 🙂

    Trish: Doing these kinds of things is very rewarding…our volunteers at the Ranch always tell us how enriching the experience is…and yes, the smiles make it worth everything!

  4. Cindy Kilgore Cindy Kilgore
    October 17, 2008    

    had a blast!! with riding the horse!! (charley) what a difference in the therapy I had with the horse! I recommend this type to anyone. it really boosted my convidence. although I was raised around horses just beable to ride made a world of difference on learning to control my balance and to learn on how to control the horse. animals are a wonderful thing for therapy. so glad that Triple creek is here for anyone to have for them. I talk about you all the time! thanks! Cindy Kilgor:)

  5. October 18, 2008    

    Cindy: You are so sweet to drop by and leave a comment 🙂

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