There is still a lack of studies focused on trunk neurorehabilitation. Accordingly, it is unclear which therapeutic modalities are the most effective in improving static/dynamic balance after brain damage. We designed a pilot study on hippotherapy to assess its short- and mid-term effect on dynamic postural balance in patients with moderate-to-severe sensorimotor impairment secondary to cerebral palsy. Five patients aged 15.4 ± 6.1 years old were recruited. All of them had moderate-to-severe alterations of the muscle tone with associated postural balance impairment. Standing and walking were also impaired. Ten minutes horse riding simulator followed by twenty minutes hippotherapy session were conducted during five session days separated by one week each. We analyzed the displacement of the Center of Pressure (COP) on the sitting surface of the simulator's saddle by means of a customized pressure pad. We measured the general behavior of the COP displacement as well as the postural adjustments when pace changed from walk to trot to walk during the sessions and among sessions. Statistical analysis revealed an improved postural control both by the end of the session and from session 1 to session 5. These results suggest that hippotherapy might support regularization of postural control in a long-term neurorehabilitation context.
Keywords: cerebral palsy; hippotherapy; horse riding simulator; neural plasticity; neurorehabilitation; postural balance.
Conflict of interest statement
Authors John Carr and Bill Greenwood were employed by the company Racewood Ltd. All authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. The funders had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript, or in the decision to publish the results.
The Effects of Hippotherapy on Postural Balance and Functional Ability in Children With Cerebral PalsyAG Moraes et al. J Phys Ther Sci 28 (8), 2220-6. PMID 27630401.A hippotherapy protocol was performed for 30 minutes, twice a week, for 12 weeks. Postural balance in a sitting position was measured using an AMTI AccuSway Plus force pl …
Hippotherapy on Postural Balance in the Sitting Position of Children With Cerebral Palsy - Longitudinal StudyAG Moraes et al. Physiother Theory Pract 1-8. PMID 29889590.Seated postural balance improved in children with cerebral palsy, as evidenced by lower COP displacement, particularly after a greater number of sessions. After the last …
Do the Type of Walking Surface and the Horse Speed During Hippotherapy Modify the Dynamics of Sitting Postural Control in Children With Cerebral Palsy?FM Flores et al. Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon) 70, 46-51. PMID 31386976.Our study test empirical procedures used in clinical practice and with a population widely reached by hippotherapy. In order to increase the demand for sitting postural c …
Effects of Hippotherapy and Therapeutic Horseback Riding on Postural Control or Balance in Children With Cerebral Palsy: A Meta-AnalysisM Zadnikar et al. Dev Med Child Neurol 53 (8), 684-91. PMID 21729249. - ReviewFrom 77 identified studies, 10 met the inclusion criteria. Two were excluded because they did not include a comparison group. Therapy was found to be effective in 76 out …
Does Horseback Riding Therapy or Therapist-Directed Hippotherapy Rehabilitate Children With Cerebral Palsy?JA Sterba. Dev Med Child Neurol 49 (1), 68-73. PMID 17209981. - ReviewQuantitative (not qualitative) studies were sought investigating whether horseback riding used as therapy improves gross motor function in children with cerebral palsy (C …