BraveHearts offers equine-assisted services and therapies for children and adults with various diagnoses. Currently, BraveHearts offers both recreational and medical services.
The most common recreational service provided at BraveHearts is therapeutic riding. Therapeutic riding occurs in 5-7-week session blocks, allowing participants to build on skills learned each week. Participants from therapeutic riding may participate in BraveHearts annual horse show and the Special Olympics Equestrian Games.
The medical services provided include equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP) and physical, occupational and speech therapy using hippotherapy as a treatment strategy. These medical services are provided only at the facility in Poplar Grove, are facilitated by a licensed therapist and must be prescribed by a physician.
Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy
Hippotherapy as a treatment strategy utilizes equine movement as part of an integrated treatment plan and is implemented by a licensed physical, occupational or speech therapist who is an American Hippotherapy Assciation, Inc. Member Therapist or Hippotherapy Clinical Specialist. Horses provide multidimensional movement, assisting in increased trunk strength, control and balance. Benefits include increased range of motion, strength, balance, postural control, endurance, fine motor control and sensory integration as well as improved communication in those with communication disorders. BraveHearts also has a fully equipped outpatient clinic for individuals interested in clinic-only services. Physical, occupational and speech therapy may be billed through insurance. Individuals must be 3 years or older to be on horseback while individuals under 3 years of age can be seen in the clinic.
Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP)
EAP incorporates unmounted and mounted activities using therapy horses to help participants of all ages. Participants explore what therapy horses can help teach them about their own lives to help process thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that facilitate emotional healing. This approach can be beneficial for individuals with various diagnoses including, but not limited to: anxiety disorders, autism, childhood neglect/abuse, conduct disorder, depression, grief, and loss, eating disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder. Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy is provided by a licensed social worker and/or Psy.D. Insurance may be billed as psychotherapy services.
In addition to increasing horsemanship and riding skills, therapeutic riding provides emotional, cognitive, social and physical benefits. Participants must be 4 years old to participate. As a recreational service, this is not covered under insurance and is taught by a PATH Intl. certified instructor.