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Hippotherapy in Rehabilitation Care for Children With Neurological Impairments and Developmental Delays

A Case Series

Kraft, Kathryn A., MPT; Weisberg, Janet, OTR, HPCS; Finch, Michael D., PhD; Nickel, Amanda, MPH; Griffin, Kristen H., MA, MPH; Barnes, Timothy L., PhD, MPH

doi: 10.1097/PEP.0000000000000567
CASE REPORTS

Purpose: This report assesses functional mobility in children with neurological impairments and documented gross motor delays, before and after receiving either hippotherapy or standard outpatient physical therapy (PT).

Summary of Key Points: This is a case-series report using data previously collected for a discontinued randomized controlled trial, in which participants received hippotherapy or standard outpatient clinic PT for a 12-week treatment period. Results demonstrated both subjective and objective functional mobility improvements after treatment in participants receiving hippotherapy and standard outpatient PT, as determined by the Peabody Developmental Motor Scales-2, the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory, and the Goal Attainment Scaling.

Statement of Conclusion and Recommendations for Clinical Practice: When compared with standard outpatient PT, hippotherapy appears to be a viable treatment strategy for children aged 2 to 5 years with neurological impairments and gross motor delays, but additional research in this area is needed to validate findings.

This case series assesses functional mobility in children with neurological impairments and documented gross motor delays, before and after receiving either hippotherapy or outpatient physical therapy.

Department of Developmental Rehabilitation (Ms Kraft) and Children's Minnesota Research Institute (Drs Finch and Barnes and Mss Nickel and Griffin), Children's Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Hold Your Horses (Ms Weisberg), Maple Plain, Minnesota.

Correspondence: Kathryn A. Kraft, MPT, Department of Developmental Rehabilitation-Children's Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota, 2530 Chicago Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404 (kathryn@live-for.org).

Kathryn A. Kraft and Amanda Nickel had full access to all of the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

Study concept and design were contributed by Kraft, Flood, and Weisberg; analysis and interpretation of data by Barnes, Finch, Nickel, and Griffin; drafting of the manuscript by Kraft and Weisberg; critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content by Barnes, Finch, Nickel, Griffin, and Weisberg; and statistical analysis by Barnes, Finch, and Nickel. Kraft and Weisberg obtained funding and Nickel, Finch, and Barnes supervised the study.

The views expressed in the submitted article are the authors' own and not an official position of the institution or funder.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2019 Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy of the American Physical Therapy Association