Exploring the Benefits and Differences of Hippotherapy vs Equine Therapy

hippotherapy vs equine therapy

Does a loved one have a developmental disability or behavioral issue? Are you searching for something outside of medication to help treat their struggles and promote healing?

You may have heard of hippotherapy and equine therapy. As techniques used to help individuals with disabilities or behavioral issues, they generate a lot of interest. But what do these therapies entail, and how are they distinct from one another?

Keep on reading as we discuss the benefits and differences between hippotherapy vs equine therapy.

What Is Hippotherapy?

The term “hippotherapy” comes from the Greek word “hippos,” meaning horse. It refers to a therapeutic approach that uses horse interactions as its main tool.

Unlike recreational horseback riding, hippotherapy involves a licensed therapist. They create and oversee personalized activities designed to target specific goals for the individual. These activities may include therapeutic horse riding, grooming, and caring for the horse.

The Benefits of Hippotherapy

Hippotherapy can have numerous benefits for individuals with various disabilities or behavioral issues. Some of these include

  • Improve motor skills
  • Enhanced balance
  • Enriched¬†coordination
  • Enhance sensory integration
  • Boost self-esteem
  • Self-confidence
  • Promote relaxation
  • Reduce stress levels
  • Sense of empowerment
  • Control over body
  • Enhance social skills
  • Improved communication abilities

What Is Equine Therapy?

Equine therapy is also known as equine-assisted therapy. It is a therapy that uses horses to promote mental and emotional well-being. It focuses more on the relationship with the horse rather than specific therapeutic activities.

The Benefits of Equine Therapy

Equine therapy offers several significant benefits. This form of treatment can help improve the following:

  • Self-esteem
  • Confidence
  • Trust in oneself and others

It can also reduce stress, anxiety, and depression symptoms. It can help build emotional resilience.

This can be very beneficial for teens who are struggling with mental health issues or have experienced trauma. It can provide them with a safe and non-judgmental environment to process their feelings and build healthy coping mechanisms. These equine psychotherapy benefits for teens have been proven to impact their well-being and overall development.

The Differences Between Hippotherapy vs Equine Therapy

While hippotherapy and equine therapy both use horses as a form of therapy, there are some key differences between the two. These include:


Hippotherapy focuses on achieving specific physical and occupational goals. Meanwhile, equine therapy aims to improve mental and emotional well-being.


In hippotherapy, a licensed therapist leads the session and designs the activities. In equine therapy, a trained facilitator works with the individual under the guidance of a therapist.


Hippotherapy involves structured activities that target specific goals. Meanwhile, equine therapy focuses on the relationship and interactions with the horse.


Hippotherapy sessions are typically shorter. They usually range from 30 to 45 minutes. Equine therapy sessions can last up to an hour or more.


Individuals with physical disabilities or developmental delays benefit most from hippotherapy. On the other hand, equine therapy is suitable for anyone seeking to improve their mental and emotional well-being.


In hippotherapy, the horse is seen as a tool. But, in equine therapy, the horse is viewed as a partner.

Choose the Right Therapy Today

While hippotherapy vs equine therapy can provide numerous benefits, key differences between the two may make one more beneficial for certain individuals. See a therapist and consider your needs when deciding which therapy option is the best.

If you or a loved one could potentially benefit from these unique therapies, don’t hesitate to explore and experience the life-changing effects for yourself. Don’t wait! Schedule a session with a trusted therapist today!

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