Researchers have studied the impact of hippotherapy on both posture and gross motor function. In the latter case, results were quantified using the Gross Motor Function Measure. Participants saw an overall improvement following an 11-week program. Other studies have supported the hypothesis that those with Down syndrome may experience greater postural control after participating in long-term hippotherapy.
The horse’s rhythmic movement enhances muscle stimulation, which can ultimately benefit individuals with reduced motor function, balance deficits, and postural misalignment. Studies demonstrate that hippotherapy can lead to alignment correction in shoulders, heads, hips, and lower limbs. If posture concerns are left unaddressed during childhood, further musculoskeletal growth may exacerbate the problem, leading to orthopedic disorders later in life. This is why early intervention is so important.