//Physiotherapy with Equines

Physiotherapy with Equines

Physiotherapy with Equines

The human being goes through his life for situations that limit his physical, mental or emotional development. Either because he is born with conditions that limit him or from an unfortunate event they acquire some limitation or disability. These limitations can be permanent or transitory and it is the job of the medicine to treat them to eliminate these limitations or mitigate their effects.

To this end, medicine ventures into traditional and alternative therapies that help improve the health of the human being. This is especially true after tragic events that in some way limit the quality of life of the subject physically, emotionally or mentally.

Thanks to this implacable search, the medicine discovered that horses are very useful in different therapies. This is how physiotherapy has been developed with equines. In recent times, this therapy has attracted a lot of attention and is increasingly used in patients with complex pathologies.

Equine Assisted Therapy

What is the scope of physiotherapy with equines?

Physiotherapy is a discipline within the field of health that treats mainly physical conditions and that generally can not be treated with pharmacological attention.

Physiotherapy with horses helps to alleviate the symptoms generated by limitations of physical fitness or can even eliminate the limitations that have been caused by accidents or postural problems.

It is important to point out that physiotherapy with equines ranges from prevention, healing and palliation of musculoskeletal and postural problems. Within this wide range we can treat multiple people despite the fact that the use of horses is not limited to physiotherapy.

From the relationship established in physiotherapy sessions between equines and people and the way it stimulates the patient. The patient experiences a feeling of total improvement and relaxation.

What are the Physiological benefits of Physiotherapy with Equines?

Physiotherapy with Equines
Physiotherapy with Equines

Some of the benefits of physiotherapy with horses are:

  • Stimulation of equilibrium and straightening reactions
  • Stabilization of the patient’s trunk and head
  • Strengthening attention capacity and balance
  • Increase in psychomotor coordination

In this way physiotherapy with equines allows:

  • Increase the ability to adapt
  • Work memory thanks to rhythmic impulses
  • Enrich the patient’s vocabulary by allowing themselves to experience new experiences

What are the physiotherapy techniques with equines?

Equine therapy or also called hippotherapy uses the horse’s therapeutic principles. This type of therapy is recommended especially for people who have physical disabilities.

In hippotherapy or equinotherapy, the body heat of the horse is taken into consideration, as well as the nervous impulses. The three-dimensional movement of the equine is essential to stimulate the patient.

In therapeutic riding it is possible to stimulate motivation, attention, concentration, tactile, auditory and olfactory sensitivity. This is how not only impact on musculoskeletal problems but also on other sensory and psychological aspects

In physiotherapy with equines, “adapted riding” is used as a technique, which is practiced as a playful or sporting option.

In the latter, it is necessary to create adaptations in the riding equipment of the horse so that the person has access to the equine, overcoming the limitations that it may have for it.

Physiotherapy with Equines
Physiotherapy with Equines

Why should there be a health professional during physiotherapy sessions with equines?

The process described above requires the presence of a health professional with ethics. This health professional is responsible for establishing therapeutic routines as well as mechanisms to ensure safety. In the sessions a qualified physiotherapist should be present to direct the session. He must have the skills and knowledge to help patients.

Again, the most significant thing of the physiotherapist is that among his work he has the great responsibility of designing and planning the sessions. This must take into account the capabilities and needs of each patient. For this reason each session is unique in itself as the therapy evolves with the progress of the patient.

Accordingly, in each physiotherapy session with horses three stages are developed, which are: greeting, development and farewell.

What are the stages of a physiotherapy session with equines?


In this first moment the link between the rider (patient) and the animal is strengthened, it is predisposed to create the conditions for the rest of the activity.


The person participates in a series of activities designed always to achieve the objectives that have been previously designed.

These activities respond to the needs based on the diagnosis of the patient and can be very varied. For example: those that have to do with the care of the animal, the activities of riding, incorporation of objects that complements the equine therapy.


The patient says goodbye to the animal, to continue with his activities. This stage is important to set learning and strengthen the bond between the patient and the equine.

Finally, we can not lose sight of the follow-up from other health specialists to assess the scope of physiotherapy with horses.

We can say that physiotherapy with equines is one of the vanguard therapies and we can see it spread for its multiple benefits. It has the versatility to become a tool to prevent, cure and alleviate the effects of physical limitations on human beings.



Fisioterapia – oline.com (Análisis de Video). (17 de junio de 2015). Terapia asistida con animales – Equinoterapia – Visión general desde la fisioterapia  [Video en Línea]. Disponible: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mB5fgFqrqtE

Fundación ACAVALL (Análisis de video) (22 de octubre de 2017). Estructura de una sesión de Terapia asistida a caballos. fisioterapia  [Video en Línea]. Disponible: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udTubzSWTpU


If you want to know more about Gustavo Mirabal or Equestrian Word, go to:

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