Derived from the Greek hippos (horse), “hippotherapy” literally refers to treatment or therapy aided by a horse. Hippotherapy is defined by the American Hippotherapy Association as a physical, occupational, and speech-language therapy treatment strategy that utilizes equine movement as part of an integrated intervention program to achieve functional outcomes. The horse’s unique three-dimensional movement provides variable, rhythmic and repetitive movement that can help to build trunk control and balance, improve endurance and strength, and provide well-modulated sensory input to all of the sensory systems. Sessions are conducted by specially trained therapists who manipulate the horse’s movement and grade sensory input in order to provide positive results to clients.
Pony Power is the only provider of this unique service in Bergen County.
What can you expect?
Hippotherapy is a treatment protocol that utilizes the movement of the horse as a tool to promote functional outcomes as a part of an integrated rehabilitation approach. Sessions last 30 minutes and may be conducted outdoors (weather permitting) or in Pony Power’s indoor arena. An initial evaluation will be conducted in order to determine if a client is eligible to receive hippotherapy and to set functional goals for the sessions. Clients will receive therapy until their goals are met, they have a change in status, or they are no longer progressing at which time they may be discharged from therapy service. Safety is a Pony Power priority. While on horseback, one of Pony Power’s trained volunteers is responsible for leading the horse and another walks next to the hippotherapy client. Approved helmets must be worn at all times while mounted.
Who can participate?
While there is no upper age limit for participating in hippotherapy, children are generally not accepted before age 2 ½ because they are not usually neurologically mature enough to derive the maximum benefit. There is a list of precautions and contraindications for equine-assisted activities that may prohibit a client from participating in the program. Also, all clients must be able to wear an ASTM/SEI approved, correctly fitted riding helmet for the duration of the session. Our therapists conduct an initial evaluation with each prospective client to determine whether hippotherapy is appropriate.
How can you get started?
We recommend that prospective clients obtain a prescription for hippotherapy, which will help you make the case to your health insurance provider that this service is medically necessary. Some insurances may cover occupational, physical or speech therapy services. Please discuss insurance questions with your therapist.
All prospective clients must undergo an initial evaluation ($205)* to determine if hippotherapy is appropriate. An evaluation does not guarantee acceptance into the program.*
Payment is expected upon receipt of services. Your therapist will provide you with the cost per session and a receipt of payment, which you can submit to your health insurance company for reimbursement.
Meet the therapist at Pony Power
Marilyn Jones is a licensed physical therapist and an American Hippotherapy Association (AHA) Level II therapist. Dr. Jones earned a master’s degree in physical therapy from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in 1998 and returned for her clinical doctorate in 2009. A former veterinary technician and farrier, Jones combined her love for horses with her physical therapy training to become an AHA therapist in 2001. She has been providing hippotherapy to children and adults for over 10 years.
Please call (201) 934-1001 for more information or submit queries below.