Hippotherapy Program

Program Structure

Saddle Up’s Hippotherapy program is a year round program where children with disabilities as young as 2 can participate in a weekly physical therapy or occupational therapy appointment. Each appointment utilizes equine movement as a part of the treatment strategy. Appointments are led by a Saddle Up! Physical or Occupational Therapist that has also been certified as a Hippotherapy Clinical Specialist and are supported by a PATH International Certified Instructor. Saddle Up!’s Hippotherapy program schedules appointment at a frequency and duration based on assessments completed by the therapist. A typical appointment is 45 minutes and takes place on the back of a horse, in our on-site treatment room, and in the dynamic environment of the barn.

Therapy Photo
Therapy Photo
Therapy Photo

Horse Partnership

Therapists in our Hippotherapy program partner with the horse because their movement creates a multi-sensory experience that can be purposefully manipulated by the horse handler under the direction of the therapist to challenge the patient to produce functional change. The three-dimensional movement imparted to the patient creates a pattern similar to normal walking, which cannot be duplicated in a traditional clinic setting. Patients learn to react and respond to the movement of the horse, leading to improvements in balance, strength, coordination, and postural control. Therapists can adjust the movement of the horse to provide specific input to the neuromotor and sensorimotor systems. With these systems regulated, patients are able to interact optimally with their environment showing improvements in attention, sensory regulation, communication, muscle engagement, and postural control. The dynamic movement of the horse combined with the dynamic environment can help promote functional change, resulting in increased independence in mobility, activities of daily living, and increased participation in family, school, and community life.

Progress & Goals

Saddle Up!’s Hippotherapy program goals are individualized to the specific needs of each patient. These goals are aimed at creating functional change with independence in mobility, activities of daily living, and increased participation in family, school, and community life. This program does not address horsemanship skills as in our Therapeutic Riding program. Progress notes are completed following each appointment to assess functional change towards goals and guide further plan of care.

Therapy Photo
Therapy Photo
Therapy Photo

How to get involved

If you would like to get your child involved as a patient in our Hippotherapy program, please contact our Program Director. If you would like to be involved in Hippotherapy as a volunteer, please contact our Volunteer Services Director. If you are a PT, OT, or SLP and would like more information on our upcoming American Hippotherapy Association training please contact our Program Director.

Contact Us

Saddle Up!
1549 Old Hillsboro Road
Franklin, TN 37069-9136
FAX: 615-794-7973

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Program Hours

Monday - Thursday 9am - 7pm
Friday 9am - 5pm
Saturday 8am - 4pm
Please contact us during these hours for assistance. We are closed Sundays & major holidays, except for special events.

If you have questions or would like more information about our program, please don't hesitate to contact us.

About Us

Saddle Up! is the region’s oldest and largest recreational therapeutic riding program, and it is the only one exclusively serving children and youth with disabilities.

Saddle Up!’s mission is to provide children and youth with disabilities the opportunity to grow and develop through therapeutic, educational and recreational activities with horses.