Comparing the pelvis kinematics of able-bodied children during normal gait and when riding a therapeutic horse.
Access changed 10-31-11.
Hippotherapy is a treatment strategy that uses horse movement as physical therapy tool for clients with a broad range of diagnoses including cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis. The prevailing theory is that the gait motion of the therapeutic horse provides sensory stimulus and movement patterns to the rider that mimic natural movements of healthy humans – patterns the patient is unable to produce. Nine ablebodied children (all inexperienced riders), boys and girls ages 8 through 12, participated in a series of riding and walking trials. Participants were fitted with adhesive markers on the pelvis, back, neck, and shoulders. A multi-camera video motion camera system recorded both riding and walking trials. The motion capture data was analyzed to reveal similar translational and rotational patterns of the pelvis between the two trials. The results provide a quantitative assessment of the validity of the prevailing theory about how hippotherapy may benefit disabled patients.