Duke DPT Neurological and Geriatric Special Interest Group members had an amazing opportunity to observe hippotherapy and therapeutic riding under the direction of Margie Muenzer, PT at the North Carolina Therapeutic Riding Center. The NCTRC exists to empower children and adults with physical, emotional, mental and social challenges to create active, healthier and more fulfilling lives through equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAAT).
From the NC Therapeutic Riding Center Website:
Margie joined NCTRC in 1993 as a physical therapist and PATH-certified therapeutic riding instructor. She holds a master’s degree in physical therapy from Case Western Reserve University, and received training in hippotherapy through the American Hippotherapy Association’s Level I and Level II courses. She never tires of the joys of helping children and adults with physical challenges begin to overcome these and thrive through the partnership with a willing horse or pony and team of dedicated volunteers.
Hippotherapy, which means therapy with the help of a horse, is the primary treatment strategy used in our physical and occupational therapy treatment sessions. The movement of the horse’s back is used to address postural control, coordination, balance, sensory modulation and more, to reach functional goals for our clients. Activities in the arena, barn and play areas are often part of these sessions.
Therapeutic riding classes focus on a broad range and combination of disabilities. Clients of all ages learn riding skills, but also may work toward making gains in strength, balance, coordination, planning, cause and effect, memory, body awareness, attention span, motor coordination, spatial awareness, social interaction, self-confidence, etc. Horses provide sensory input and motivation that is unmatched in other activities and therapies.
More information about the NC Therapeutic Riding Center: http://www.nctrcriders.org/