“Something truly magical happens when these riders and horses come together.”

-Cheff Center


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Brooke takes weekly hippotherapy lessons at the Cheff Therapeutic Riding Center.


The Cheff Center opened in 1970 as the first therapeutic riding center built especially for the purpose of serving those with special needs in the United States, the Cheff Therapeutic Riding Center strives to focus on what individuals can accomplish, not on what they cannot.

About Hippotherapy

Hippotherapy has been shown to be one of the most efficient and effective treatments used to improve posture, balance, mobility, and function in patients with motor disorders.

In hippotherapy, a specially trained physical or occupational therapist properly positions the patient on the horse, analyzes the patient’s response and directs the horse’s movement to achieve specific patient treatment goals. The horse is used as a unique treatment modality in conjunction with traditional therapies. As the horse walks, its center of gravity is displaced three-dimensionally with back and forth, up and down, side to side, and rotational movements. The horse’s movement has a therapeutic effect on the patient with a precise, repetitive pattern of movement very similar to the movement of a person’s pelvis during normal walking. Additionally, the movement of the horse produces sensory input to the brain and the nervous system of the patient.

Major aims of hippotherapy include mobilization of the pelvis, lumbar spine and hip joints, normalization of muscle tone, development of head and trunk postural control and development of equilibrium reactions in the trunk. In fact, improvement in postural control and trunk equilibrium reactions can be achieved more easily on the horse than in the clinic. The horse’s rhythmical movements transmit symmetrical sensory input to the patient in a way that cannot be imitated by a mechanical apparatus or with any degree of consistency in the traditional occupational and physical therapy clinic. Therefore, hippotherapy offers an alternative and valuable adjunct to more conventional treatment modalities.

Therapeutic riding changes lives.

Something truly magical happens when these riders and horses come together. Therapeutic horseback riding challenges individuals to achieve and improve both physically and mentally.

All above information is taken directly from the Cheff Center Website.



Hippotherapy- Trail Ride

Today was a beautiful day so the girls got to do their hippotherapy outside! The leaves are starting to change colors!


Brooke's First Hippotherapy Session!

Brooke had her first evaluation and riding session today at the Cheff Center!  After 1 year of watching her big sister take riding lessons it was finally her turn!  She was so excited to get going and didn’t want to wait around for her assessment; she knew what she was there to do!  She’s heard about Brielle’s favorite horse “Ella” for the past year, so when I asked her what horse she wanted to ride on our way there, she responded with, “Ella!”  So to her surprise, they had Ella saddled up and ready for her to ride.  After a little bit of introduction between Brooke and Ella, they were off and Brooke had the biggest smile!  During her session she was even saying, “run, run, run!”  But they didn’t get that far this time.  :)  She rode Ella for a solid 20 minutes and she was physically worn out.  Hippotherapy gives the same stimulus to the rider as walking, so those 20 minutes were like Brooke walking for 20 minutes!

After she was done riding, she gave all her helpers high fives and gave a big hug to Ella the horse.  Brielle and Brooke brought carrots to give their horses a treat after their sessions.  I think that is just as much fun for the girls, they love going back into the barn and seeing where the horses live too!

Hippotherapy is such a great way to get some extra therapy in if you ask me!  I think Brooke is going to love horses just as much as her big sister!