Carilion Clinic: Carilion Clinic Partners with Healing Strides of VA for Pilot Hippotherapy Program

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Carilion Clinic Partners with Healing Strides of VA for Pilot Hippotherapy Program

Program supported by grant from Foundation of the Roanoke Valley
Carilion Clinic has partnered with Healing Strides of VA to secure a grant from the Foundation of the Roanoke Valley to provide four pediatric patients with Hippotherapy treatment this spring and four additional patients in the fall as a pilot program.

“This shared treatment opportunity with Healing Strides of VA is extremely exciting for us,” says Lisa Belderes, certified physical therapist at Carilion Clinic. “Hippotherapy has been shown to improve muscle tone, balance, posture, coordination, motor development and emotional well-being, all of which is important for our patients.”

Hippotherapy is a physical, occupational and speech-language therapy treatment that uses the equine movement as part of a program to achieve functional outcomes. The movement of the horse provides a multi-dimensional movement that has an effect on postural control, sensory systems and motor planning that is used to facilitate coordination and timing, grading of responses, respiratory control, sensory integration skills, and attention skills.

Children and adults with mild to severe neuromusculoskeletal dysfunction are candidates for hippotherapy as part of a rehabilitation program. Patients typically respond enthusiastically to this enjoyable rehabilitative experience because it exists in a natural setting.

“We are thrilled to partner with Carilion pediatric therapies to offer hippotherapy as an innovative treatment tool starting this spring,” says Lynda Gray, Healing Strides of VA president. “For over 15 years, our primary goal as a therapeutic riding center has been to provide the community with therapeutic benefits offered by using horses. To now be capable of doing this in partnership with the medical community is very exciting. Our hope is that this is just the beginning of a wonderful relationship where each organization can offer their experience and knowledge to better serve the community.”

Click below for video of a hippotherapy session, a discription of hippotherapy by Carilion Pediatric Physician Therapist Lisa Belderes, and news media coverage of our recent Hippotherapy demonstration