Contraindications and Precautions to Hippotherapy

  • Uncontrolled Seizures
  • Harrington Rods
  • Severe Behaviors/Fear of Animals
  • Atlantoaxial Instability
  • Osteogenesis Imperfecta
  • Severe Osteoporosis
  • Complete Spinal Cord Injury above T6
  • Severe Spinal Curvatures
  • Hip Subluxations with Pain

Our hippotherapy schedule

Tuesday 10am-6.30pm

Thursday 10am-6.30pm

FCT's indoor, matted, and temperature-controlled facility allows for year round Hippotherapy sessions.


"Hippos" is Greek for Horse

Hippotherapy does not use hippos, nor is it treating hippos or a horse.  Hippotherapy is rehabilitation for humans with the aid of the horse's movement.  FCT was established to provide Hippotherapy services in the middle-TN area.  In fact, Dr. Allen was the first Hippotherapy Clinical Specialist (HPCS) in the middle-TN area.  Dr. Allen maintained her HPCS certification from 2005-2019.  Dr. Allen is also a regional and national  speaker on the subject of Hippotherapy and a Clinical Instructor in the area of Hippotherapy.

Hippotherapy is a treatment strategy that is employed by a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, or a speech language pathologist.  Each professional has a set of rehabilitation goals for their clients.  The goal is not to learn to ride a horse, but rather to sit up on their own, to hold their head up, to walk, to transfer, to improve balance in order to prevent falls, to relax muscles for better range of motion and mobility, etc.  Each client's set of goals is unique to them and their abilities and desires.  

During Hippotherapy sessions, the therapist will ask that the horse be moved in such a way to enhance the function of certain muscle groups and to relax others.  The client may also be directed into different positions on the horse.  For instance, laying on one's belly while the horse is moving, encourages head and neck control and back extension.  In conclusion, Hippotherapy differs from more traditional treatment strategies through its use of the horse's movement to provide sensory input to the patient and graded 3-dimensional balance and mobility challenges.

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What is the difference between Therapeutic Riding and Hippotherapy

When FCT started, there were only Therapeutic Riding Centers in TN.  As a result, FCT has strived to educate the general public and equestrian and health professionals throughout the years on the differences between the two.

Therapeutic RidingHippotherapy
Conducted by a Riding InstructorConducted by a Therapist
Goal is to learn to control a horseGoal is to learn life skills
Client typically faces forwardClient may be placed in different positions
A saddle is almost always usedOften the client is riding on a bareback pad

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