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What does “hippotherapy” mean?


The word 'hippotherapy' is derived from the Greek word for horse, 'hippos', and is effectively interchangeable with 'equine movement'. From the start, it should be understood that this is not a separate form of therapy. It is physical, occupational, or speech therapy just as you’d find it in its conventional form. Therapists in our setting use 'hippotherapy' or 'equine movement' as just one of many therapeutic tools--just like bolsters, balance beams, platform swings, etc.--that assist them in achieving functional improvements and functional goals. In fact, depending on the purpose of the treatment and the desired outcome much of the session may be done unmounted, either in the clinic or performing such tasks as grooming and tacking. As in any therapy, an integral component of success is follow through on the part of parents and caregivers, applying what we learn here throughout the week at home in the form of daily activities and home exercise programs.


Why is equine movement such a powerful treatment tool?

Equine movement is a comprehensive neurological treatment tool, one that engages all of our bodily systems--proprioceptive, vestibular, muscular, etc--simultaneously, which is how we all interact with the environment on a day to day basis. As therapists we can prioritize and focus on the components of our patient's needs that are most critical, including balance, core strength, vestibular processing, etc, based on what tack we use and what mounted activities we are performing. Feel free to ask us how exactly we are doing this with you or your family member when you visit! 

Is it safe?


Absolutely. When performed under the proper supervision of trained professionals and in accordance with the standards and practices set forth by such governing bodies as PATH Intl.(Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International) and the AHA (American Hippotherapy Assoc.), PT, OT, and SLP incorporating equines is very safe.


Who can participate?


No matter the diagnosis, if the impairments involve issues with strength, balance, tone, postural awareness, coordination, midline orientation, sensory integration, or range of motion, they can be addressed and addressed successfully. Common populations are those with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism-spectrum, multiple sclerosis, developmental delay, post stroke, or TBI, just to name a few.

How do I get started?


To initiate your participation in our program go to our Fort Collins registration page, and follow the instructions there.  Once you've completed your initial online form telling us who you are and what days/times work for you someone will be in contact to guide you the remainder of the way through! 

What are the costs?


Fees break down to $155 per hour session and this covers all therapist fees and associated barn fees, etc. For insurance reimbursed riders, My Heroes will receive the standard reimbursement rates depending on the payer’s plan and any subsequent balance may be the responsibility of the rider and their family. We do have some flexibility in this arena and strive to enroll everyone who comes our way and needs our help, whether this means working on a sliding scale based on financial need, offering reduced rates, running through third party programs such as Foothills Gateway in Larimer County and Envision in Weld County, etc. If you or your child is appropriate for us, we will do our very best to make sure he/she gets in with us. You will also have the opportunity to make payments with your FSA and HSA accounts if that is desirable. 

Is this therapy covered by insurance?


As alluded to above, this is not a separate treatment strategy. It is billed just as any outpatient PT, OT, or SLP, using traditional coding in alignment with the desired goals. As such, your coverage in our program will depend on your insurance’s typical coverage of outpatient therapy based on your plan. While we do not guarantee reimbursement, we will submit all claims and do everything we can to provide your insurance company with any and all records they may need.

Currently, My Heroes does NOT accept Medicaid, Medicare, or any other state run insurance, though we receive regular reimbursement from all major insurance carriers that are considered Out Of Network based on individual plans.


How long does a session last?


A session lasts one hour, and will be broken down depending goals. It will be a therapist guided schedule of mounted horse time, clinic time, grooming, tacking, home exercise education, or any other standard exercises or measurement gathering. Typically these sessions occur once per week and are always scheduled for the same time every week (e.g. 10 AM on Thursdays).

What is the appropriate attire?


Closed toed shoes and an ASTM/SEI certified helmet (which can be provided by My Heroes) are the only real prerequisites. During the winters and cooler times we recommend mittens or gloves and socks/long underwear that will keep all skin unexposed for the comfort of the rider. Shorts are allowed in the summer and warmer weather months. As we are located within the Temple Grandin Equine Center, we are in a fairly climate-controlled environment.

What if I or my child have to miss a treatment?


At the beginning of each semester you will have an opportunity to account for any planned absences and you will not be billed for those treatments. We also understand that given the amount of issues our parents/riders have to deal with on a day to day basis, there may be no warning for a last minute cancellation. With that in mind, we will do our best to provide a make-up for the missed session if the need arises. If no make-up is available a credit will be counted toward the next quarterly session.


Which Community Center Boards (CCB’s) do you have a contract with?

  • Foothills Gateway (Larimer County)

  • Envision (Weld County)

  • We accept contracted rates through CCBs as long as we have an updated service plan listing “hippotherapy” as a service, the number of units covered, service plan start and end date, and if possible, the total amount of funding available for “hippotherapy.”


Is there a weather cancellation policy?

Sessions will typically only be cancelled in extreme weather conditions, including hazardous commute issues and horse welfare considerations. The therapist or instructor will try and let clients know of cancellations as far ahead of sessions as we can. Otherwise, you can anticipate that we will be on!

Ready to get started?!

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