Hippotherapy

Hippotherapy uses of the horse’s movement as a therapeutic or rehabilitative treatment, especially as a means of improving coordination, balance, and strength.

Dianne Garcia, MSPT

Dianne Garcia has over 14 years of experience in Hippotherapy. She developed GallopNYC’s  current hippotherapy program in 2007, where it continues to grow. In each session, Dianne brings together her experience, compassion, and the unique benefits of the horse’s movement to improve the lives of children with disabilities.  Over the past several years Dianne has set up clinical affiliations with three universities to further educate other therapists to the field. She works for the NYC Department of Education in the NEST program which specializes in integrating children and adolescents on the Autistic Spectrum, in all aspects of their school day.  

Locations

GallopNYC offers hippotherapy sessions at GallopNYC Forest Hills in Queens and Prospect Park’s Bowling Green in Brooklyn.  We are planning to expand our hippotherapy services to GallopNYC Sunrise Stables in the near future.

Physical Therapy Students

We currently have graduate student affiliations with Columbia University, College of Staten Island, Touro and York College in the fields of physical and occupational therapy.

About Hippotherapy

The American Hippotherapy Association (AHA.org) states, “Hippotherapy is how occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech-language pathology professionals use evidence-based practice and clinical reasoning in the purposeful manipulation of equine movement to engage sensory, neuromotor and cognitive systems to achieve functional outcomes. In conjunction with the affordances of the equine environment and other treatment strategies, hippotherapy is part of a patient’s integrated plan of care.”

Why Hippotherapy

The benefits of Hippotherapy include:

  • Postural control and core stability
  • Gait training
  • Improved energy expenditure
  • Sensory stimulation, including vestibular, somatosensory, and visual sensation
  • Improved vocalization
  • Better ability to follow directions
  • Enhanced quality of life due to increased function

Treatment sessions run from 30 to 60 minutes and are planned based on individualized goals and assessments.  Physical therapists add motor tasks to the horse’s movement to address the needs of each patient and to promote functional outcomes in skill areas related to gross motor ability, such as sitting, standing, and walking. During Hippotherapy changing rider positions, gait speed, and direction of the horse address impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities. Patients are supported by the therapist, side walkers, and volunteers during the session.

Who Benefits from Hippotherapy?:

  • Abnormal muscle tone (Cerebral Palsy)
  • Impaired balance, coordination, and gait
  • Impaired sensorimotor function (Sensory Integration Disorder)
  • Postural asymmetry
  • Poor postural control
  • Delayed speech and language
  • Executive functioning
  • Motor coordination associated with autism
  • Developmental delays
  • Traumatic brain injuries  
  • Neuromusculoskeletal disorders
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Our Staff

GallopNYC’s talented and passionate employees are motivated by the sense of purpose that comes with our mission and programs.  Many of our staff first started their career at GallopNYC as a volunteer.

Board of Directors

GallopNYC is led by a Board of Directors dedicated to our mission. Our talented Board of Directors are professionals with accomplishments in business, government, professional services, and philanthropy.

Advisory Council

Our Council of Advisors are eminent supporters of our therapeutic programing, consisting of avid equestrians, medical professionals, educators, parents, and a wide variety of advisors.

Founders & Emeritus Board

GallopNYC was founded as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2005. During the 2007-08 academic year, GallopNYC began lessons with one instructor, ten participants, and about fifteen regular volunteers.

Rising Professionals

Our Rising Professional Group help to make GallopNYC events a fun and memorable occasion.  They are dedicated to organizing, planning, and fundraising for events and activities that support our riders.

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Volunteer in Lessons

Volunteers play a very important role in our therapeutic riding lessons. In fact, we can’t have lessons without you. Volunteers support our riders during therapeutic riding sessions by sidewalking with riders and leading our horses.

Barn Work

Taking care of horses sure is a lot of work! We need volunteers to help us with all kinds of tasks from horse care, barn management, feeding, and even cleaning stalls. 

Site Leader

As a Site Leader, you will assist instructors to ensure that on-site activities operate smoothly, especially with regards to volunteers, riders, staff, and any other on-site personnel. 

Paddock Master

Make a difference and help our lessons run better. Paddock Masters volunteers are designated to assist instructors during therapeutic riding sessions by ensuring horses are tacked and ready for use, and all necessary equipment is available to allow lessons to proceed in a timely fashion.

Clerical Volunteer

Like to stay indoors? We need volunteers to help GallopNYC staff with office work and to ensure that on-site activities operate smoothly, especially with regards to volunteers, riders, and any other on-site personnel.


Volunteer Community

Become a member of GallopNYC’s volunteer community – The Turnout! The Turnout is a social club for volunteers to connect with one another through hands on experience, learning and good times. Deepen your therapeutic riding and horse knowledge, and stay abreast of all the volunteer events!

Therapeutic Riding

GallopNYC brings the proven benefits of therapeutic horsemanship to provide measurable benefits for people with developmental, emotional, social, and physical challenges.  Through weekly riding sessions with PATH-certified instructors, we help riders learn new skills, inspiring each one to live life as fully, productively and independently as possible.

Veterans

GallopNYC provides horsemanship leadership programs to veterans free of charge. Therapeutic horsemanship is effective with veterans for both physical and emotional rehabilitation. GallopNYC’s therapeutic horsemanship program for veterans focuses on interactions with horses and builds upon improving personal decision-making and self-regulation.

Seniors

GallopNYC offers a free program for local seniors, 65 and older. Participants have the opportunity to socialize, mingle, learn new skills, work with our horses, and volunteer with our riders.  This program focuses on groundwork and techniques in leadwalking and sidewalking, to better assist our riders during therapeutic riding lessons.

Hippotherapy

In Hippotherapy, a licensed physical therapist works with each child while the child is riding. The therapist is trained in using a horse as a physical therapy tool. The therapists work independently with GallopNYC’s assistance.

Leadership

GallopNYC has developed an innovative program to help young people transition to work, by developing specific job skills needed for gainful employment.


Equestrian Team

The GallopNYC Equestrian Team sponsored by Centennial Bank is a group of our advanced riders who participate in competitions for riders with disabilities at United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) rated hunter jumper shows.