Equine movement and making changes in its speed and direction is very effective in gaining and maintaining the rider’s attention. Actively changing the physical riding position on the horse and participation in carefully selected motivational activities provide multiple opportunities for problem solving, decision making and comprehension. Establishing a weekly routine encourages memory recall and planning. 

What is Giddy-Up?

What diagnoses are commonly treated with hippotherapy?

The word hippotherapy is derived from the Greek word “hippos” meaning horse. Hippotherapy is treatment or therapy that utilizes the characteristic movement of a horse to improve neurological function and sensory processing.  In a hippotherapy session a specially trained therapist aptly positions the individual on the horse, analyses the rider’s response to the equine movement and then adjusts the horse’s movement accordingly to provide a “just right challenge” for each individual. The horse's unique walk transfers variable, repetitive and rhythmic movement to the client. The responses in the client are similar to human movement patterns of the pelvis while walking. The incredible part of hippotherapy is that during a treatment session a horse can take thousands of steps, allowing thousands of opportunities for a client to experience this unique movement that cannot be replicated by other apparatus or equipment.

Learn more about our founder and Therapist, Justine Williams.

Horses are big, yet gentle, and they accept everyone for who they are. Children who have difficulty bonding or interacting with peers often feel more comfortable when engaged with a special animal on a regular basis. A relationship begins to form. Frequently the child begins to initiate taking care of the horse’s needs as they learn to respect and connect with the animal. This can lead to more effective relationships with peers and family members. Often the individual has difficulties taking part in the same sports and extracurricular activities as their peers do, but through hippotherapy and the “just right challenges” set by their therapist the child experiences success, their self- esteem grows and they can now do something that maybe their peers are unable to.

About Giddy-Up

Language is the means by which we communicate our thoughts, feelings, needs and wants with one another. The horse is an immense motivator for individuals to practice and use their own specific method of language such as speech, gesturing, sign language or augmentative devices. Throughout the hippotherapy session communication is encouraged during interactions with the horse, volunteers and therapist and through interactive games and activities. Utilizing the movement of the horse the therapist is able to facilitate increased trunk control, stability and respiratory control all functions that support speech and language.

Language & Communication

Social / Emotional

Our mission is to enrich the lives of our riders and their families through our holistic approach to hippotherapy.

Giddy-Up and Ride was started in April 2012 by Justine Williams and arose from her passion for the way that a horses' movement can improve a client's functional outcomes, including physical, cognitive, social and emotional impacts.


Hippotherapy can help riders improve in five key areas. Read on below to learn more:

What is Hippotherapy?

The initial focus of hippotherapy is the client’s posture and movement response. The horse provides a dynamic (moving) base of support. As the horse changes speed, direction or lengthens/shortens its stride, the rider needs to make subtle adjustments in the trunk to maintain a stable position. This helps to increase head control, trunk control and strength, midline orientation, balance, weight transference, coordination and motor planning. Hip, pelvic and spinal mobility is improved due to the horse’s unique 3-dimensional movement.


How does hippotherapy help?

The horse, it’s movement and the environment in which the hippotherapy session is carried out provides an array of sensory input, proprioceptive, vestibular, tactile, auditory and visual. By carefully orchestrating the horse’s movement, by transitioning the rider into different developmental positions and by using graded functional activities, the therapist can address sensory processing issues and impact sensory modulation. The results are noted by the appropriate adaptive responses from the child and the subsequent improvements in emotional, social, behavioral and communication outcomes.

  • multiple sclerosis
  • stroke
  • traumatic brain injury
  • Emotional Disorders
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Spina Bifida

Hippotherapy can help a variety of individuals facing different physical, cognitive, sensory, social and emotional needs. Some of those include:

  • Autism
  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • cerebral palsy
  • developmental delay
  • Chromosomal Disorders including Down Syndrome, Angelman Syndrome
  • Sensory Processing Disorder