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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between therapeutic riding and hippotherapy?

Therapeutic riding is geared toward equestrian activities adapted for individuals with special needs.   It is taught by an experienced CanTRA (Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association) instructor, who adapts their teaching style, the environment and equipment to enable students to learn skills of horsemanship.  It is usually done in a group setting, for a pre-determined session length.  Hippotherapy is a therapuetic tool used in a one-on-one treatment session by a trained Physiotherapist, Occupational Therapist or Speech-Language pathology professional.

Does OHIP cover your physiotherapy services?

No, unfortunately, OHIP does not cover my private physiotherapy services including hippotherapy.  If you have a private benefit package through your employer, physiotherapy is often covered.

Do I need a doctor's referral?

As a primary care practitioner, I do not need a doctor's referral to treat your child.  However, some insurance companies still require one in order to reimburse you.  If we will be incorporating hippotherapy into the treatment plan, then I do need a physician referral/medical form completed. I will provide you with a letter for your physician and a referral form.

Do you have a waitlist?

Generally, no.  I am usually able to work with your schedule to see your child within one to two weeks.  

What kinds of conditions do your treat?

I see many different children  with a wide variety of physical disabilities and challenges.  Some of these include cerebral palsy, spina bifida, traumatic brain injuries, post-stroke hemiparesis, developmental delay, DCD, sensory processing disorders, gross motor delays, torticollis, and orthopaedic injuries.  The ages I see range from babies to young adults.  

Is Hippotherapy safe?

Yes.  Once it is determined that hippotherapy will be beneficial to your child's therapy goals, our first session on the horse will also act as an assessment session to determine what equipment and amount of support is needed to ensure maximum safety.  I will have a CanTRA instructor as my "horse handler", and 1 or 2 "sidewalkers".  These are trained volunteers on either side of the horse who are instructed on how to hold and/or support your child.  All patients wear ASTM approved helmets, and transfer belts.  The horses are specially trained "therapy horses" who are used to having many people around them, unbalanced riders, and riders who may be unpredictable in their movements and voices.  That being said, parents must be willing to sign a waiver, assumption of risk and release of liability stating that they understand that there are inherent dangers, hazards and risks associated with riding/equine activities.

Where are you located?

I will come to your home if it is within 30 km of my home office (Shallow Lake).  Or, I can see your child at the clinic I am affiliated with in Wiarton.  I utilize the YMCA pool in Owen Sound for any pool therapy sessions.  If I incorporate hippotherapy into the treatment plan, I can see your child at GRACE (just outside of Owen Sound in Springmount).

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