Using horses to assist physiotherapy for people with disabilities in the Chiltern Hills
Hippotherapy is a form of physiotherapy treatment which utilises the horse’s movement to achieve the desired responses in a client with disabilities. It is undertaken by Chartered Physiotherapists who have completed further in-depth post-registration training , and who are fully insured to work within their extended Scope of Practice.
Hippotherapy utilizes the movement generated by the walking equine to replicate the sensory input/motor output of the human pelvis during active walking. The goal is not to teach horse-riding skills, but rather to use the horse as a dynamic base of support upon which the client learns to control and co-ordinate their responses. The Physiotherapist can position the client on the horse in a variety of positions (e.g. astride facing forwards or backwards; sideways sitting; lying supine or prone; kneeling etc.) and the Physiotherapist can apply neuro-developmental and sensory integration techniques to help develop balance and postural reactions.
The Physiotherapist directs and is responsible for a highly trained team: the equine will have been carefully assessed and selected for its temperament and individual movement quality; a horse handler under the Physiotherapist’s guidance will control the speed and direction of the equine; a side walker will walk alongside the client to assist/support as required.
Often specialist equipment will be chosen by the Physiotherapist to maximise the transfer of the horse’s movement and warmth to the client e.g. a soft sheepskin sitting pad will be used in the place of a traditional saddle. (CPTRH - cptrh.csp.org.uk)
Before you are able to begin to have hippotherapy sessions, you will need an assessment.
Please contact Hannah on:
Bank Farm Riding for the Disabled Group have very kindly let me use their home and gorgeous ponies for hippotherapy sessions. Boasting both an indoor and outdoor arena, it is possible to continue sessions in any weather. Set in the beautiful Chiltern Hills, just outside London, it is accessible for all.
For information about Bank Farm RDA, please see their website bankfarmrda.com
Chiltern Hippotherapy Practice was founded by Hannah Balderson.
Hannah is a Chartered Physiotherapist with over 10 years experience in physiotherapy in both the NHS and private sector since qualifying from the University of Nottingham with a degree in Physiotherapy. She still currently practices as a Band 7 Physiotherapist in the NHS Camden Learning Disability Service. Hannah is a specialist in Postural Management for people with complex disabilities, managing posture over 24 hours in seating, lying supports and standing equipment, having gained a postgraduate diploma from Oxford Brookes University. She is also trained in hydrotherapy and Rebound therapy. Hannah has extensive knowledge of a range of neurological conditions and their associated symptoms.
Hannah has always had a passion for horses and has been riding since she was young. She is a keen volunteer with Riding for the Disabled (RDA). She has been so inspired by all the new research that has been available recently around Hippotherapy and equine therapy and wanted to be able to utilise this herself. She began her Hippotherapy qualification in 2019 and completed a whole year of voluntary work in Hippotherapy and therapeutic riding in the UK, Argentina and Tennessee, USA. She qualified in Hippotherapy in 2021, founded the Chiltern Hippotherapy Practice and is providing sessions at Flamstead Yard in Buckinghamshire.
Hannah Balderson BSc Hons MCSP AACP
HCPC Registered (Health Care Professions Council)
CSP Registered (Chartered Society of Physiotherapists)
CPTRH member (Chartered Physiotherapists in Therapeutic Riding and Hippotherapy)
ACPPLD Member and SE Region Treasurer (Association of Chartered Physiotherapists for People with Learning Disabilities)
We rely on our amazing and generous volunteers to assist with our hippotherapy sessions.
All volunteers are given specific training in working with our ponies and assisting the physiotherapist in hippotherapy sessions.
Volunteering can contribute towards your Duke of Edinburgh Award!
If you would like to volunteer please get in touch!!
07743497318 or email@example.com