Hippotherapy (Hippos is horse in Greek) is a specialist physiotherapy intervention that uses the 3 dimensional movement of the horse in walk to correct and improve movement, balance, core strength, in the person on the horse. It has been shown to benefit children with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, brain and spinal cord injuries and many other people with movement disorders. Research has shown that the functional ability of these people improves following a course of Hippotherapy and can be maintained over a follow up period. Children with autism and other learning disabilities have also benefitted from this form of therapy.
Our mission is to provide high quality assessment and rehabilitation programmes using the horse to provide a treatment strategy for adults and children with physical, mental, social and learning disabilities and as such allow more people to benefit from Hippotherapy and associated services.
Hippotherapy is a relatively new therapy in the United Kingdom and there are only around 20 physiotherapists who are qualified to practise. There is a particular shortage of these specially trained physiotherapists in the South East and REACH helps to address this shortage.
Whilst the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) has many centres in the Southeast, these provide recreational riding for people with physical and learning disabilities it does not offer the most important element - rehabilitation.
We want people to come for regular visits to REACH. We want the centre to have a professional whilst friendly feel to encourage on-going family involvement rather than the feeling of a medical intervention. We will offer complementary services to allow clients to visit and partake in activities outside of a clinic session. For example, we also offer toddler mornings where children of pre-school age accompanied by an adult can visitand learn about the ponies and have a chance for social interaction and parents can chat over a coffee.
All staff and Volunteers at REACH will have the necessary qualification, training and are CRB/DBS checked to provide the range of services.
The centre is run by the clinical Lead Louise Barrett (BSc Hons, MCSP, HPC Reg). Louise is a Physiotherapist trained in Hippotherapy and Equine Rehabilitation. She has a vast knowledge and experience of horses and qualifications in horse care. She has a great commitment to showing how these animals can truly help people who have special needs. Louise has achieved her UK CC coaching qalification in association with the RDA. She is also qualified to teach baby massage and children’s Pilates. As well as a being a mother of 3 young children, Louise is also involved as a Girl Guide Leader at a local Rainbows group and has a great afinity towards children.
REACH has been set up as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO).Our current Trustees are:
Les Rosewarne - Chair Person
Pam Holmes - Secretary
- Victoria Lian - Treasurer
- Amy Northwood
- Lisa Bailey
Our sessions are staffed by volunteers other than the Hippotherapist, and fees charged go towards our running costs. We undertake a lot of fundraising and grant applications to enable us to provide our service.