Therapy & Adaptive Programs
Healing, Rehabilitation & Research
Carlisle Academy is a PATH International Premier Accredited Center providing safe and therapeutically beneficial programs to a broad population with a variety of needs. Our Therapy & Adaptive Programs are staffed by some of the highest credentialed professionals in the field, including Hippotherapy Clinical Specialists, PATH, Intl. certified instructors, skilled horse handlers, and clinical interns from universities around the United States.
Hippotherapy | Adaptive Riding | Adaptive Carriage Driving | Interactive Vaulting | Integrative Horsemanship | Veterans Groups | School Groups | Elder Groups | After-School Programs (click to jump to descriptions below)
Carlisle Academy has an affiliation and/or certification through the following equestrian organizations:
Lives are enhanced by our therapy horses’ stimulating movement and healing nature and the net result is an experience that is transformative – for the individual, the family, and the community. Individuals diagnosed with physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities are impacted by equine-assisted therapies in myriad ways.
“I think that horseback riding is probably the most perfect form of occupational therapy, as it demonstrates the integration of body, mind and spirit. A person on a horse is in the best possible body position to encourage development of normal muscle tone, balance and coordination. The horse’s movement reinforces this, as well as improves the rider’s attention span. The rider forms an emotional attachment with the horse and becomes empowered when she learns she can communicate nonverbally with the horse and it will respond to her directions. It’s a maximal set up for success, and all of it carries over to improve other aspects of a person’s life.” - Judith G. Kimball, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA
Equine-Assisted Activities & Therapies benefit individuals challenged with:
Behavioral & Emotional Disabilities
Developmental & Learning Disabilities
Spinal Cord Injury
A note about Private Insurance Reimbursement:
Carlisle Academy is a contracted service provider for a growing list of private health insurance companies. Hippotherapy services, as a physical and occupational treatment strategy, are considered “covered services” by some of these insurance companies, while others only allow reimbursement for the time in the therapy room. We have broken out the fees of each 30-minute component to aid families in the reimbursement process. Please call the Director of Therapy & Adaptive Programs for more information on insurance coverage and case management support in funding hippotherapy.
HIPPOTHERAPY is the most clinical component of our program offerings and is conducted by licensed physical or occupational therapists, credentialed through the American Hippotherapy Certification Board as Hippotherapy Clinical Specialists. Due to the program’s dedicated staff resources and expertise in the area of Hippotherapy, Carlisle Academy offers the largest Hippotherapy program in Northern New England, serving hundreds of people on an annual basis.
These therapists employ adaptive tools, specially trained horses, professional horse handlers, and skilled sidewalkers to use the back, movement, and gaits of the horse to facilitate development and rehabilitation. A building body of research demonstrates that hippotherapy used as a clinical treatment strategy can improve range of motion, gait, core stability, balance, motor control, sensory processing, and emotional modulation.
- Private sessions – 1 Hour: One student receives direct treatment time with one therapist. Time is divided between 30 minutes in the therapy room, and 30 minutes of treatment on the horse.
- Group Sessions – 1 Hour: Two to four students receive direct treatment time with one to two therapists, depending upon group size. Time is divided between 30 minutes in the therapy room, and 30 minutes of treatment on the horse. The pair(s) participates together at each station.
- Pre-Hippotherapy – 45 min: Horse Play is designed for children with disabilities who are too young to mount (18 – 24 months) or for children who show initial fear of the mounted experience. Children receive 30 minutes of traditional PT/OT therapy in the therapy room followed by 15 minutes of horse care with our miniature horse. Treatment involves a multi-sensory approach and provides a solid foundation for the transition to the mounted hippotherapy sessions.
*The American Hippotherapy Association has defined Hippotherapy as “a term that refers to the use of the movement of the horse as a tool by Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, and Speech-Language Pathologist to address impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities in patients with neuromusculoskeletal dysfunction. The movement of the horse provides a foundation of improved neuromotor function and sensory processing that can be generalized to a wide variety of activities outside the treatment setting.” APTA (American Physical Therapy Association), AOTA (American Occupational Therapy Association), and ASHA (American Speech and Hearing Association) all accept and endorse Hippotherapy as a treatment strategy. Please visit www.americanhippotherapyassociation.org for updated research, to review AOTA and APTA endorsements, and the glossary of terms.
STAND-ALONE PT/OT TREATMENT: For Carlisle Academy’s students already enrolled in any of our classes, we offer stand-alone PT/OT consultation, evaluation, and treatment in our therapy room with any of Carlisle Academy’s credentialed therapists. This may be considered a covered service depending upon a patient’s insurance plan.
ADAPTIVE RIDING is conducted by PATH Intl. certified therapeutic riding instructors, teaching adaptive riding skills for educational and therapeutic purposes. Riders with physical, social/emotional and cognitive challenges benefit from riding, grooming, and communicating with horses. These activities help with balance, coordination, self-confidence, attention, communication, and emotional well-being. Options include: 45 min private session; 1.25 hours semi-private session – both include grooming and tacking time.
ADAPTIVE CARRIAGE DRIVING is conducted by PATH Intl. certified therapeutic driving instructors. Students are trained in grooming, harnessing, and carriage driving techniques. Adaptive carriage driving is a fun and engaging alternative that can address balance, core strength, and cognitive skills. Options include: One-hour private session; 1.25 hours semi-private session – both include grooming and harnessing time.
INTEGRATIVE HORSEMANSHIP is an unmounted equine experiential learning curriculum conducted by PATH Intl. certified Equine Specialists in Mental Health and Learning. Students participate in horsemanship activities such as grooming, leading and ground work, learning much about horses and themselves. In the process, they build confidence, develop self-awareness and learn positive leadership skills based on trust and respect. This program is well-suited for individuals who may be fearful of riding, those wanting a solid knowledge base on the ground before moving on to riding, or those with emotional/behavioral challenges who could benefit from building a healthy relationship with horses. We have a variety of options, and also can customize a class to fit a particular group’s needs.
- Grooming Class: This class is an individual activity for 30 minutes. Participants learn basic grooming and ground techniques and enjoy a wonderful human to animal bonding experience in a safe and therapeutic environment.
- Girl Power & Horse Boyz: Designed for teenage and early adolescent girls or boys offered as a small group activity of 4 students for 1.5 hours, students meet once weekly to participate in unmounted equine activities, learning the skills necessary to work cooperatively and confidently around horses and each other. Social, behavioral and character-building elements are incorporated in each lesson.
INTERACTIVE VAULTING is a PATH Intl. specialty therapeutic program conducted by a PATH Intl. certified vaulting instructor. Designed as a small group activity for 1.5 hours, 4-6 students and one horse work together to learn a series of gymnastic exercises, first on the vaulting barrel and progress to a moving horse. In addition, interactive vaulting employs games, horse care, and general horsemanship skills that foster social and behavioral development for children with attention or sensory challenges. Interactive vaulting promotes communication, balance, teamwork, and confidence. Students must be able to ambulate independently and have listening and cognitive skills at a level that allows them to follow directions and maintain safety.
SPECIALTY CURRICULUM GROUPS are designed for 4-6 children or adults, lasting 1.5 hours. Students participate in three 30-minute stations, allowing them to rotate through equine learning centers combined with adaptive riding, adaptive driving, or hippotherapy activities, depending upon the group option chosen. We have a variety of options, and also can customize a class to fit a particular group’s needs.
- School Groups: Carlisle’s Integrative Equine Education Curriculum provides regional school groups and home school groups with equine therapeutic activities geared to meet the physical, social/emotional and cognitive needs of school-age students. Implemented by PATH Intl. certified therapeutic riding instructors, this experiential curriculum is designed to support neuro-developmental, social and academic skills.
- Veterans Group: Part of PATH’s Equine Services for Heroes, this group is designed to serve disabled veterans injured in mind, body or spirit. Veterans are supported by other veterans in this program, which offers an opportunity to learn or rediscover equestrian sports while providing a foundation for positive relationship building and improved well-being. Click here for more information on Carlisle’s Veterans Program. The Wounded Warriors Programs supports eligible veterans’ tuition in this program. Find out more here Wounded Warrior Program.
- Silver Spurs is an adaptive horseback riding and carriage driving class designed for older adults who face age-related challenges. The activities help with balance, range of motion, and arthritis, and offer a valuable social outlet for body and mind engagement.
- Saddle Club – Adaptive is an after-school, co-ed adaptive riding program taught by PATH Intl.certified instructors. 4-6 riders meet weekly during a 7-week session in a socially supportive setting to develop their English riding as well as their stable management and equine care skills. Adaptive riding students may have additional support from horse handlers and sidewalkers as needed.
- Mixed Hippo/Adaptive Group: The SOAR Curriculum (Sensory Organizing Activities through Riding) offers a combination of hippotherapy and adaptive riding approaches provided by credentialed therapists and PATH Intl. instructors to meet a group’s diverse therapeutic needs. Both modalities are used to focus on sensory integration and experiential learning goals. Groups are designed around age and special needs. This is ideal for a hospital-based, agency-based, or disability-specific group.