100 Research Parkway, Waco, TX 76704
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The Chariot

Benefits for Patients

The Chariot can be used in the clinic or even at home, offering greater access to complex hippotherapy motions. The consistent, rhythmic input to rider draws responses many therapists claim to be beneficial for a number of purposes:

• Therapy – Improve motor skills, balance, coordination, postural control, timing, and speech development.

• Exercise – Stretch and strengthen muscles and joints, particularly in the core and hips.

• Training – Develop and practice proper riding posture and skills.

• Flexibility – Loosen joints and muscles for improved comfort and range of motion.

• Calming – Encourage mental calmness, attention, and focus to perform activities and exercises.

Benefits for Clinics

Use the Chariot to offer a unique treatment option to your clients. The Chariot’s low profile allows you to address and manipulate your client even while they ride.

• Normalize hypertonicity and hypotonicity

• Enhance response to treatment

• Stimulate vestibular and muscular responses

• Improve the effectiveness of subsequent interventions

Benefits for Equine-Assisted Therapy Centers

Use the Chariot to complement horse riding to offer equine movement when:

• Horses are not available more than once a week

• Bad weather is not safe for clients and horses

• Clients have allergies or a fear of horses

• Riders have too severe a condition to ride a horse

• Warm-up or preliminary training is needed

The Chariot’s patented technology allows it to accurately reproduce complex, three-dimensional equine movement caused by a horse’s walking pattern.


Chariot recreates this target motion with accuracy by using and testing a motion capture system to record the horse’s motion and the simulated motion.  The graphs below show the X, Y, and Z axis translations (left) and rotations (right) of the riding surfaces of the horse and of the Chariot.

The solid lines represent the target horse motion, and the dotted lines represent the simulated motion.

Recording Target Motion

 Dr. Garner led research to record the motion patterns of a number of different horses as they were led around a riding arena in a simulated hippotherapy session.  The horses were experienced in hippotherapy, were led by trained guides at a moderate walking pace, and were ridden by healthy children between eight and twelve years old.  A six-camera video motion capture system was arranged in the arena to record the motions of numerous markers placed on the horse, saddle (or surcingle), and rider.  The recorded data included the three-dimensional trajectories of all markers over the duration of the riding trials.  This data was processed through proprietary algorithms to extract clean, smooth, and realistic representations of the periodic, three-dimensional translational and rotational motion of the riding surface.

recording hippotherapy motion

Reproducing Motion

The Chariot consists of a stable base and a moving saddle structure.  The saddle structure is suspended above the base by eight cables – two cables attaching at each corner.  The cables are redirected from the saddle structure through pulleys, and down to lever arms that pivot about an axis fixed to the base.  A set of cams rotates about an axis fixed to the base, and these cams engage the lever arms and cause them to pull on the cables, thereby moving the saddle structure.  The shape of the cams determines the movement pattern of the saddle structure.  Dr. Garner developed a detailed computer model that calculates the appropriate cam shapes needed to reproduce a target motion pattern, which in this case is the processed motion data obtained from the riding measurements.

hippotherapy motion simulator inside

Hippotherapy Motion Simulator Accessories

Please check back for updates on the various accessories we have planned to enhance the Chariot.

These include:

  • Different motion patterns
  • Different handle shapes and configurations
  • Stirrups that attach on the side of the saddle structure
  • Different seat sizes and shapes
  • Elevator stand for taller riders

Have an idea for an accessory you’d like to have?   Please let us hear about it!