Hippotherapy is a form of physiotherapy using the movement of a horse to replicate the sensory and motor output of the human pelvis in walking. It is delivered by a qualified physiotherapist who has undergone additional qualifications and is fully insured to teach this therapy. The therapist will usually work one-to-one with the disabled person or child, using the horse to help them learn to co-ordinate and control their responses. The therapist will also place the disabled person in different positions on the horse to help develop balance and posture. Hippotherapy is different from therapeutic riding.
Therapeutic riding is normally run by stables associated with the Riding for the Disabled Association. Conducted in small groups with a riding instructor and physiotherapist, the lesson will again use the horse's natural movements to stimulate desired responses in the rider's muscles and posture.