Physiotherapy (Hippotherapy)


What is Hippotherapy?

Hippotherapy is a method of treatment used by a physiotherapist, occupational therapist or speech-language pathologist. Hippotherapy does not teach the skill of riding, it uses and manipulates the horse's unique movement thereby affecting the client’s neuromotor, sensory and cognitive systems to achieve functional outcomes. At Hope Haven, this treatment method is part of a therapeutic treatment plan under the guidance of a registered Physiotherapist.

What differentiates Adaptive Riding and Physiotherapy (Hippotherapy)?

Adaptive riding (AR) is defined as teaching the skill of riding adapted to the needs of individuals with unique physical, intellectual or social/emotional disabilities or challenges. The goals of AR may include sport, leisure, socialization, physical and education related. AR programs are lead by CanTRA or PATH Intl. certified horse professionals.

Physiotherapy using hippotherapy does not teach the skill of riding. It uses the horse's unique movement to produce active responses in the client in order to effect their functional goals. This technique is a part of a therapeutic treatment plan under a designated health professional.

There are many cases where a client may be involved in both Physiotherapy (hippotherapy) and AR sessions as they may have both functional or medical goals as well as riding or social goals.

Why use a Horse for Therapy?

The horse has a unique multi-dimensional movement that is highly organized and "lends" itself to our riders. The horse's spine and pelvic movement is very similar to humans. By manipulating the horse's movement characteristics and patterns we can directly influence our client's active movements necessary to achieve their specific goals.

The hippotherapy environment provides a multi-systems experience that can't be reproduced in the regular clinic. These systems include: motor, musculoskeletal, nervous, respiratory, circulatory, visual, touch, hearing, speech, language and cognition. Treatment sessions can be tailored to focus on a select few but as in real life scenarios, clients will learn to organize many systems interacting simultaneously.

How do I Register for Physiotherapy?

You will need to complete the following:

  1. Participant Application
  2. Professional Referral Form

Once your application is complete we will set up an initial assessment visit to determine your program plan.

Cick here to bring you to the applications page.

For more information, please call 519-986-1247 and ask for Robyn, or email


545747 Sideroad 4A, RR #2
Markdale, ON N0C 1H0

(t) 519-986-1247


Located on Sideroad 4a between
7th Line and 9th Line.

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Benoit Dube - Executive Director

Kim Reain - Development Officer

Robyn Allen - Program Manager & Physiotherapist

Michelle Lemire - Volunteer Coordinator

Emma Houser - Program Administrator & Instructor (PATH Int. CTRI, EC Instructor of Beginners)

Danielle Caswell - Equine Manager & Instructor (PATH Int. CTRI, EC Competition Coach)

Gillian MacNeill - Instructor (CanTRA CTRII, PATH Int. CTRI)

Shannon Speer - Recreational Therapist & Equine Assisted Personal Development Coach

Gretel Stanish - Instructor (Path Int. CTRI, EAPDC)

Alexis Murray - Instructor (EC Instructor of Beginners in Training)

Laikyn West - Property Manager