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Programs Introduction

Therapeutic Riding and Hippotherapy

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Therapeutic Riding and Hippotherapy

Therapeutic Riding opens new pathways of physical, mental and emotional rehabilitation. The rhythmic and rocking gait of the horse transfers a gentle three-dimensional movement to the rider that relaxes muscles, improves muscle tone, flexibility and balance, and enhances spatial awareness. Outdoors, with a team of encouraging volunteers and a supportive horse, self-control, self-esteem, self-confidence and independence grows. Rehabilitation becomes a joy rather than a chore.

Our riders, with challenges such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, neuromuscular disorders, post-traumatic brain injury and stress, cognitive limitations, emotional disabilties, autism and attention deficit disorder, use horses to experience an overall improvement in their quality of life.


  • Normalizes muscle strength and tone. Improves coordination, freedom of movement, balance, respiration, body awareness, tactile perception and oral motor control.
  • Enhances self-image and confidence. Increases acceptance of unfamilar experiences. Develops loving relationships.
  • Increases attending and safety awareness. Enhances comprehension and memory. Improves ability to plan sequence and follow directions.
  • Improves interpersonal communication. Promotes family interaction and broadens social activity. Develops a recreational skill.

Therapeutic Riding

In Therapeutic Riding, our core program, instructors use the horse as an tool to teach riding skills and reach individualized goals and objectives. Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemandship International (PATH) certified therapeutic riding instructors conduct each lesson for about an hour, usually once or twice a week for each client. The rider receives all the physical, cognitive, and emotional therapy in addition to learning how to ride with the goal of full independence. Riding a horse independently for a child with autism or an adult with cerebral palsy is an empowering and life-changing experience. We offer a special program designed for wounded warriors who have served our Country so bravely. Riding horses gives them peace, confidence and the physical benefits of the horses gentle three dimensional movement.


Hippotherapy is derived from the Greek hippos (horse), and literally refers to treatment or therapy aided by a horse. It is a highly structured, one-on-one therapy session under the guidance of an occupational, physical or speech therapist. Hippotherapy refers to the use of a horse as a treatment tool by professional therapists to address impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities in patients with neuromusculoskeletal dysfunction. It can improve dynamic postural control, balance, mobility, and function but may also be used to achieve sensory processing and psychological, cognitive, behavioral, and communication outcomes.

In Hippotherapy, specific riding skills are not taught, as in therapeutic horseback riding; but rather, a foundation is established to improve neurological function and sensory processing. This foundation can be generalized to a wide range of daily activities. (Please ask for our detailed Hippotherapy brochure that explains MTR's treatment program.)

All Content © 2009 Maryland Therapeutic Riding, Inc.