Therapeutic Riding vs. Hippotherapy? - The Horse Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 4 Old 06-02-2014, 06:47 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 9
• Horses: 0
Therapeutic Riding vs. Hippotherapy?

Hey all!
So I've done a little bit of online research in the field of hippotherapy, and I just had a quick question: What is the difference between hippotherapy and therapeutic riding? (Also, is there a difference between these and "equine assisted therapy?"
I've seen the terms used seemingly interchangeably; in other cases I've seen "non-licensed therapy center," or "non-certified center" on some websites. I plan on volunteering at a therapeutic riding center this summer - I'm very excited!

Also -- I already know that to be a hippotherapist you have to be a certified physical, occupational, or speech therapist. Is this the same for being a therapeutic riding instructor or equine assisted therapist?

Thanks so much!
writeatyourownrisk is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 4 Old 06-02-2014, 06:53 PM
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 5,498
• Horses: 0
Therapeutic riding doesn't require a certification.

If you talking about equine assisted psychotherapy there should be a certified mental health councilor and an "equine specialist" present. Just like you can't practice PT with out a license you cannot conduct psychotherapy without one.

A hippotherapist needs to be a licensed PT/OT/ST.
Posted via Mobile Device
SlideStop is online now  
post #3 of 4 Old 06-04-2014, 04:06 PM
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 3
• Horses: 0
You are correct, to provide hippotherapy, a licensed PT, OT, or speech-language pathologist must be present. Hippotherapy focuses on the actual physical, occupational, or speech therapy goals. Riding skills are not a focus- typically the client will ride with a bareback pad or surcingle and does not control the horse. The rider may ride in different positions, like backwards, prone (face down) or supine (on their back), etc. Check out the AHA website for more info on hippotherapy: American Hippotherapy Association, Inc.

Conversely, in therapeutic riding, the participant focuses on riding skills (although physical or educational objectives may also be emphasized). Riders learn to control the horse as independently as possible.

To be a therapeutic riding instructor you *should* be certified. The largest organization for certification in the US is PATH International: PATH International
Some other organizations, like the PA Council on Therapeutic Horsemanship and CHA also offer instructor certification for teaching riders with disabilities.

In reality, anyone could go out and start teaching riders with disabilities. Obviously working with a center affiliated with PATH or at least with an instructor with some sort of certification would be the best way to go!

The term equine-assisted therapy is often misused, but should only be used to refer to therapy (in which an actual licensed therapist is present). This could include hippotherapy or equine-assisted psychotherapy (also called equine-facilitated psychotherapy, and requires a licensed mental health professional).
Check out the EAGALA website if you want to learn more about EFP: htpp://
svb83 is offline  
post #4 of 4 Old 08-06-2014, 05:19 PM
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 1
• Horses: 0
I am certified by "Spirit Horse" out of Corinth TX. It's a bit different than PATH, where the riders ride in a round pen and certain steps are mastered before a rider can proceed to the next step. Very interesting. It is equine assisted therapy.

Last edited by Wallaby; 08-06-2014 at 05:58 PM.
Libbylou is offline  

equine assisted therapy , hippotherapy , therapeutic

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Therapeutic Riding MissH Horse Talk 14 04-27-2010 07:45 AM
Therapeutic Riding wildhorses018 Horse Talk 13 03-20-2009 07:13 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome