Items

Forums
The Ethics of Hippotherapy
 By Winniefield Park   •   13th Oct 2014   •   2,796 views   •   0 comments
The Ethics of Hippotherapy

Long before horse assisted therapy became mainstream, I was involved with helping give hippotherapy to a little girl who had suffered severely crippling injuries in a car accident. At the time, we knew nothing about riding for the disabled. We were told that riding was good exercise for the wheelchair-bound child, and when she was lifted onto the back of a pony, she grinned for the duration of the ride. We had no special equipment, and no training. Hopefully, we did more good than harm. Hippotherapy has been around since the time of the Greeks, but in the last few decades, there's been an increasing interest in horse assisted therapy programs for everything from alcoholism to speech therapy.

Horses help humans. Long ago, they helped us move faster and further carrying a heavier load. When mechanical engines took over, horses gave us healthy recreation. And more recently, in addition to helping us with mobility and physical therapy, they are helping us deal with emotional problems. But is helping us overcome our problems fair to the horse? Some people don't think so. There is some controversy about the cost to the horse's own mental health. One study of horses used for therapy for mental health and physical therapy found their stress hormones actually decreased following the therapy session. This is opposite to what the researcher assumed would happen. The only exceptions were a new horse, another who was a cribber and one who had a rider with a severe mental health problem.

Related: The Benefits of Therapeutic Riding
Related: Therapeutic Riding - Freedom on Horseback
Related: Dreams to Reality - Elite Para-Equestrian
Related: Therapeutic Horseback Riding

The findings of one study however, aren't indicative of what may happen in all therapy programs and that has many people concerned about the ethics of using horses for therapy. Some call it exploitation. They believe that asking a horse to help heal humans, especially those with mental health issues, may be going beyond what would be deemed as 'use'. There is a concern for the safety of the horse in some situations, and that the horse is being used as a tool, rather than treated as a sentient being.

Over the last decade, more attention has been paid to the maintenance of therapy horses and national standards are being formed or are in place in several countries. In North America, several guidelines have been suggested such as those formed by The National Association for Equine Facilitated Wellness that asks members to "agree to abide by their "Code of Ethics for the protection of participants (human and equine), the public, and the profession" and " take steps to ensure the culture and environment at the barns in which their equine partners reside are congruent with this Code." So, more attention is being paid to the stress providing therapy puts on horses, and creating an atmosphere that is healthy for their physical needs.

Clearly, the use of horses to help humans will continue as more therapists discover new ways to provide treat their patients. After all, "There's something, about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man." But, we need to ensure that we are good for both the inside, and outside of the horse.

What's your opinion of equine assisted therapy?

--
ref: https://www.avma.org/News/JAVMANews/Pages/040915o.aspx
Horse News More PB Articles About:  Therapy,
Horse News More In This Category:  General      Horse News More From This Author:  Winniefield Park
 Related Horse News
The Benefits of Therapeutic Riding
6th Jan 2012   |   General   |   Seven Sins
Most people have heard of some form of physical therapy. Well on horseback it is often called Hippotherapy, it is a commonly used for around 100 different conditions; autism, brain injuries, spinal cord injury, visual or hearing l ...
The Ethics of Hippotherapy
13th Oct 2014   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Long before horse assisted therapy became mainstream, I was involved with helping give hippotherapy to a little girl who had suffered severely crippling injuries in a car accident. At the time, we knew nothing about riding for the ...
Tiny Trotters Therapy Horses of South Carolina
7th May 2019   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Horse’s and ponies have been helping humans for a very long time. In fact, they’ve been useful enough that we’ve kept them around despite their being extinct in the wild. But, in recent years, equines have become more than just be ...
Equine Autism and Depression Therapy
23rd Jun 2019   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
With an awareness of what it takes to stay mentally health and recover from mental issues comes many, what seem like, novel approaches to treatments. One treatment is equine therapy designed to help those dealing with mental healt ...
My Little Horse Listener
21st Jul 2019   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Montessori schools are known for their child-led education programs that are a bit different than regular public schools. The focus of Montessori programs is to provide an enriched environment for discovery and hands-on learning f ...
Pony Service Animal Flies In Cabin with Owner
19th Sep 2019   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Flirty, a Miniature Horse and service animal was possibly the first horse to fly inside the passenger compartment of a plane. Her handler, who is allergic to dogs, took Flirty on a short flight, and this short video documents the ...
FAA Announces New Therapy Horses Regulation on Planes
4th Nov 2019   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Recently, the FAA announced new regulations regarding service and emotional support animals on commercial airlines flights. Part of the new regulations recognize that horses are used in this capacity and they now allow miniature h ...
Harp Therapy For Frightened Horses
28th Jan 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Amid the frightening chaos and rush taking place as the Australian wildfires are being fought is a calming sound that helps both horses and humans. A woman transitioning from professional life as a doctor to retirement is offering ...
Service Horse Denied Hospital Entrance
22nd Feb 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
There seems to be a lot of confusion around the status of service animals. The controversy exists because of there are people who maintain their pets are emotional support animals, guide animals even though they are not officially ...
Horse Autism Therapy For Kids
20th Mar 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
A new study suggests that kids with autism and ADHD may benefit from horseback riding lessons. Not only does riding help with motor function, strength, flexibility and dexterity, researchers also felt that that participants in the ...
  View More PonyBox Related Horse Articles
 More News by Winniefield Park
Rescued Horses Had To Be Dug Out of Stalls
1st Apr 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Animal rescuers in Massassachettes had to dig two horses out of their stalls after they discovered a horrific case of neglect. The two horses had sores on their back from rubbing on the rafters of their stalls because the manure w ...
Horse Diagnosed with COVID-19 In Arizona
30th Mar 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Covid19, the new coronavirus that has turned into a global pandemic is affecting almost everything and certainly dominating the news. It’s likely to be that way for weeks, and possibly months to come. Coronaviruses take up residen ...
Awkward Wedding Proposal
24th Mar 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
It’s always fun to see unusual marriage proposals. But some special moments shouldn’t be upstaged by a horse. Recently, a horse took center stage in a carefully planned proposal. She said yes, but with the horse taking nibbles at ...
PonyBox Oldest Barns
22nd Mar 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
The Ponybox game foaled in 2001 and since then there have been a lot of changes. Servers have crashed, the rules have evolved. And many of the oldest barns have disappeared, or morphed into newer establishments as the game has cha ...
Wild Horses In Reno Streets
21st Mar 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
You’d expect to have to head out into the wilderness to observe wild horses. But that isn’t the case in Reno, Nevada. In fact, it’s not unusual to see horses wandering through Reno neighborhoods and the streets of other nearby tow ...
Horse Autism Therapy For Kids
20th Mar 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
A new study suggests that kids with autism and ADHD may benefit from horseback riding lessons. Not only does riding help with motor function, strength, flexibility and dexterity, researchers also felt that that participants in the ...
Horses Are Weird
17th Mar 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Horses are weird! Yes they are. They walk around on one finger, have few if any close relatives and as a species, have taken a strange circuitous route from North America and back again. Vloggers Hank and John, who call themselves ...
The Controversial Salt River Horses
16th Mar 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Approximately 250 feral horses graze the floodplains of the Salt River and areas in the Tonto National Forest in Arizona. Once they were in danger of disappearing. But, a dedicated group of local advocates called Salt River Wild H ...
  View All News by Winniefield Park
 
©2002 - 2020   PonyBox LLC Create Account Terms & Conditions Privacy Contact Us
368 Members Online 262,938 Registered Members 2,685 News Articles 11,420,986 Unique News Article Views 271,546,164 Website Views