Hippotherapy Improves Respiration and Motor Speech Function in Persons with Cerebral Palsy 2007
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of hippotherapy (a treatment
strategy using the movement of the horse) on the respiration and motor speech mechanisms in two participants with cerebral palsy. Respiration and motor speech measurements were taken prior to initiation of intervention, before and after each of seven hippotherapy sessions, and after cessation of intervention. Improvement in each measurement from both participants after each hippotherapy session was documented. The participant with spastic cerebral palsy demonstrated greater effects than the participant with athetoid cerebral palsy and the motor speech measurements improved more than the respiratory measurements. Hippotherapy appears to facilitate improved motor coordination resulting in immediate improved respiratory function and control of speech in persons with cerebral palsy.