5 Myths about Hippotherapy for New Parents with a Special Needs Child

 Providing a Helping Hand for Special Needs Children and Families.


Are you a new parent of a special needs child interested in Hippotherapy and can’t distinguish the myths from the facts? We explain five of the most common myths about this therapy to put your mind at ease.

MYTH: Hippotherapy will scare my child.

The horses used for Hippotherapy are typically well-trained and friendly.

HorsePlay Therapy

MYTH: Hippotherapy teaches horseback riding lessons.

This therapy does not teach horseback riding lessons. 

MYTH: Equine Therapy, Hippotherapy, and Therapeutic Riding are the same thing.

They are not the same thing! When it comes to utilizing horses and therapy, there are many terms that become very confusing: Equine-Assisted Therapy, Hippotherapy, Therapeutic Riding, and more! Let’s talk about some differences.

Hippotherapy is a treatment strategy utilized in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy that utilizes the movement of the horse to help participants work toward their individualized goals. Hippotherapy provides multiple benefits for children with special needs, that includes balance and postural control, sensory input, and respiratory support for speech production, just to name a few. The emotional connection that the horses provide leads to improved confidence and social-emotional well-being for the children. An option for Hippotherapy is HorsePlay Therapy Center in St. Augustine, FL.

Equine Therapy, also known as Equine-Assisted Therapy (EAT), is a treatment that includes equine activities, both mounted and unmounted, in order to promote physical, occupational, and emotional growth. At HorsePlay Therapy Center, the RISE UP for Veterans program utilizes EAT for veterans suffering from the physical wounds of war, PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and many other mental health challenges. Rehabilitative goals are related to the patient’s needs and the therapist’s standards of practice. Interacting with horses builds trust and confidence and strengthens emotional bonds with each session. 

According to the American Hippotherapy Association, Therapeutic Riding involves horseback riding lessons adapted to individuals with special needs. Therapeutic Riding, also known as Adaptive Riding, is completed by a certified therapeutic horseback riding instructor in conjunction with volunteers.


MYTH: Hippotherapy is expensive.

It can be expensive based on the facility/insurance. However, at HorsePlay Therapy, they state “No child or veteran is denied treatment based on their ability to pay.” They are able to provide this option by allowing others to sponsor a child or veteran.

MYTH: My child has to have experience with horses to do Hippotherapy.

Your child does not need to have experience with horses to do Hippotherapy. A team of therapists will assist and observe your child while they are on or around a horse.

Why should my child go to Tender Care PPEC?

Tender Care PPEC provides care for medically complex and fragile children from birth to 21 years of age in a daycare-like environment staffed with nurses, CNAs, and therapists. We are the first independently owned PPEC in the State of Florida with our initial center opening in 1988. This means we have an abundance of experience and knowledge in providing loving care to this special pediatric population. We have 6 Tender Care PPEC centers throughout Florida, with our newest facility located in Lake Park.

Lake Park Location

Our goal is to enhance the development of each child through collaborative relationships between families, physicians, nurses, and therapists. This holistic approach to care is carried out in an environment that allows the child to engage in social interactions with their peers. This results in thriving children, well-positioned to achieve their greatest potential. We also offer transportation at no cost and provide nutritious meals throughout the day. 

What sets us apart is that we care for and treat every child like family. We have passion in our hearts for our children and a desire to see them succeed.

*This is not medical advice, always consult with your child’s doctor before making any changes to their lifestyle. 


5 Feeding Tube Myths for New Parents with a Special Needs Child

Are you a new parent with a special needs child with a feeding tube and can’t distinguish the myths from the facts? We explain five of the most common myths about feeding tubes to put your mind at ease.

Skip to content