Mom? What's a difficult child?
Has anyone tried this with thier g'sfg? I love horse and think the riding and being around them would be good and calming...
I am thinking from an Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) and BiPolar (BP) standpoint. I think for insurance reasons the Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) will get me in?

She thinks she loves horses... I have been around them alot. I am just looking for anything for her until we move.


Has difficult child been around horses? She may be really intimidated at first by their size. I don't know if I would think about riding right off the bat, but maybe petting, brushing..that kinda thing. I'm a firm believer in pet therapy. Studies have shown how just petting an animal lowers blood pressure, decreases anxiety, that kinda thing. My difficult child is always calmer around our cats and dog.


New Member
Our difficult child wants to attend a horse camp this summer. She's also never been around horses before, but she loves animals and has her heart set on attending. We'll sign her up and see how things go.


Well-Known Member
My difficult child volunteers at a therapeutic riding center for children with disabilities. I can tell you that it is an absolutely wonderful experience for both the volunteers and riders. She has often come home beaming because she got a child who does speak to talk to her while riding or she saw a child smile because they were having fun. And the experience has done wonders for difficult child too. Children with behavioral problems do very well with horses.

If you have such a center near you I would recommend it wholeheartedly.


P.S. I wanted to add that there are children there of all abilities. There are some children who need a side walker on both sides to help them stay on, there are some who have multiple disabilities, some who you would never think could ride a horse, others who seem to be fine and their disability is emotional. My point is that the center is use to and trained to handle children of all abilities so you can be sure they are well experienced. It's amazing to watch a child with severe ADHD get on a horse and be completely calm.

Basset Hound had high hopes of becoming a therapist that worked with children and horses. Her difficult child-dom reared its ugly head, and instead she is working at Boston Market and shacking up with Cap'n Loser.

I think it is a wonderful idea, Totoro.

Now, I am confused...I would have called it equine therapy...to me, hippotherapy sounds like something MY big :censored2: needs...


Well-Known Member
My difficult child took riding lessons a few yrs back, not for any kind of therapy, but because I wanted the kids to learn so we could all go riding together on vacations. (So far it hasn't happened.) It never occurred to me it could be used for his therapy... although I know there are places that do such things. I just never connected it with-"my" difficult child. It didn't change his temperament that I could see... he behaves himself under most circumstances with-an adult around (except for moi). :crazy:


Mom? What's a difficult child?
This is from a PT and she is certified now with the NHRA? and all of that... She is going to meet with us next week to meet difficult child 1 and let her meet the horse... no Riding in the beginning.

We will discuss her abilities/disabilities etc. She has worked with everything except BiPolar (BP) in kids. Adults yes.
I had met her a long time ago very nice lady.

I am going to go for it!


Active Member
We have tried it....and although it is neat, is is not completely the most therapeutic venue. A lot of attention gets focused on the horse, which is great, but in the hour you have, not a lot of attention gets focused on the depth of a difficult children problems. Maybe try it in conjunction with a regular therapist....? I think especially at your difficult children age, it would be worth a try.

by the way it is hippa therapy - instead of hippo :smile:


Mom? What's a difficult child?
Not to be a rag.... but greek "hippo" = horse

I don't care as long as difficult child is happy... my Dad had horses and mules and I really enjoyed being around them.. found them very calming and fun.. that is what I am looking for, for her.
Thanks for the input


New Member
Speaking from someone that works way too hard to feed her horses and pays the horse shoer way too much every 5 weeks~

I think it is a great idea! An old friend of mine started New Beginnings in Bowling Green Kentucky. She and her staff have helped HUNDREDS of people

Something magical happens when a child is controlling a 1200lb horse. Horses teach us so much.

When I am at my breaking point all I have to do is walk outside and talk to one of my horses. They calm me right down

Good Luck

Let us know how it goes


New Member
B has been doing hippotherapy for the past 3 years. Here, it is offerered through the school Special Education department. They only take about 15-20 kids per year, so once in, you count your blessings. We live in a very rural area, so they have to ride the school bus about 20 miles each way then wait while other kids ride. THAT bugs B. The riding, he loves! He always has a better afternoon after he rides, just seems so much more centered.

Exstended school year offers him weeks of riding 2x per week for June, so he will get something to keep us going when there is no other structure. Now, if I could pay for more out of pocket..I would.



Well-Known Member
Hearthope that's interesting about your friend. My husband's partner's daughter went to Greece last year to help start a Therapeutic Riding Center there. And you're right, something magical happens when a child learns they have to control a 1200lb horse and do it in a patient, gentle way.



Active Member
I made enquiries for difficult child 3 a few years ago. A nearby group were talking about setting up something. I know he would benefit. There are a couple of riding schools about half an hour's drive away, but they're not set up for kids like difficult child 3 and are expensive, anyway. I don't need to teach him dressage, I just need him to learn to interact with another living creature, and be able to tune in to it. I guess it's time I revisited this question, made more enquiries in the hope that they've finally got something set up.

Some years ago we were on holidays in Victoria's High Country, where they made the film "The Man From Snowy River". Horseriding country. The girls went horseriding and loved it - we could see that they were both naturals at it, especially easy child 2/difficult child 2 with her amazing sense of balance. Her first time on a horse and she looked perfect, even kept her seat when her horse broke away and began to canter (she pulled him up). difficult child 3 was too young, but maybe this holiday we can arrange something... easy child will be with us and would jump at the chance for another ride.



New Member
It is certainly worth a try. We had a great riding instructor for our difficult children who was used to challenging kids. definitely worth investigating.


New Member
Hippotherapy is awesome!!!! My difficult child also volunteered for an equestrian therapeutic program a while back and it just so happens that I have one of the horses that participated in the therapy program for 5-6 years (John Wayne).

Info from site: http://www.queenofheartsranch.org

Therapeutic riding is a dynamic way to improve balance, joint mobility, coordination, muscle tone and posture. It is extremely beneficial to children and adults with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, brain injuries, and other physical or mental impairments.
When mounted astride a walking horse, the rider's body is put through a variety of movements that are very similar to those of a human walking. The horse's movements are three-dimensional: up and down, side to side, and back and forth. The movements are synchronized in a precise and repetitive pattern, much the same as the human gait. The rider responds to the motions with improved body symmetry, improved muscle tone, increased head and neck control, and improved balance.

The horse's movement also provides the rider with strong sensory input in the areas of the brain that register touch and motion stimulation, making it an excellent therapy. Riding is also good for the cardiovascular system and provides the rider with aerobic exercise.

There are cognitive and psychological benefits from riding as well. The lesson format encourages the rider to plan and execute sequenced activities that aid in information processing abilities. Instructors use props, games and exercises, so individuals with cognitive disabilities can learn to perform more complex and difficult tasks on horseback. Many daily living skills and basic education objectives are incorporated into the riding lessons.

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
I would love to get kt involved in this type of therapy. wm's therapist uses a service/therapy dog with wm during his sessions. It makes a very big difference for him.

If kt isn't dissociative, our dog Sally can calm kt like nothing else. When kt is dissociative, Sally stays very close to her & always tries to "herd her" to a safe place.

Animals have an incredibly calming effect on difficult children.


Mom? What's a difficult child?
Thanks everyone!!!
Since she is so lonely and sensory is sky high!!! I am going to the apt next week. Unless she is just freaked out by the horses I am going to do this for her even if we have to pay... we are only doing Occupational Therapist (OT) once a month now :frown: and our therapist is not that knowledgable on BiPolar (BP) anyway... so our services are pretty minimal right now. Just gymnastics once a week.

WIth the weight gain also...anything to motivate. This is something we can continue if we move.


New Member
Please let us know how it works out. The size of horses can be very intimidating and some still scare the bejeebers out of me, Lol!! This would be a good opportunity for her sensory issues. The horse's movement provides the rider with strong sensory input in the areas of the brain that register touch and motion stimulation, making it an excellent therapy. Riding is also good for the cardiovascular system and provides the rider with aerobic exercise. If she is really freaked out by the horses, Maybe consider just taking her for visits for a while until she warms up around the horses. My difficult child did not have much experience with horses when she started volunteering but did start out by walking the horses and helping to groom them. In the end she was saddling them up and making sure they were prepped for the appointment arrivals and leading the horse during the lessons. Today? She is fearless and will fix issues that some horses have like bucking and actually stays on... Lol!! She even got involved with the Jr Bull riding and yep, Even rode the bulls... Shes crazy but very skilled when it comes to riding horses The program that my difficult child volunteered for was a non-profit, so you should ask if there is any way that you could apply for a grant that will cover the cost of the therapy. I am hoping that your difficult child warms up quickly, Horses are awesome therapy for us humans in general. I could be having a Ho Hum day but as soon as I show up at the ranch to take care of the horses I forget about everything.