Hippotherapy (Equine Therapy)

Parent Q&A

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  • equine therapy

    (2 replies)

    I have a teen with a mood disorder and was hoping to find equine therapy or even just horseback riding lessons. I've seen some places on line, one seems for severely disabled and one seems to be closed. 

    Zenerosity in Pleasanton has equine therapy! It’s a wonderful place with great therapists and horses. 

    (510) 353-3602

    I know it is a long way to go, but Square Peg in Montara (formerly in Half Moon Bay), on the coast is a wonderful nurturing place. They also have another ranch in Sonoma. My daughter taught there for years and we came to know the owner and staff really well. It is an amazing place that is deeply committed to challenged kids of all types. Over  the years I met countless families that came from all over of the bay area because the therapy was so effective and because Square Peg provides such a supportive and healing environment. 

    Good luck.

Parent Reviews

Unless you are scared for their safety I would not go the med route at age 10. You may end up on a non stop road of meds that are not really made for children. I have a lot of experience in this having gone through it with my own child. DBT therapy would be very appropriate. It has groups, parent training, individual therapy all as a part of it. Another option is Equine therapy. Both of these are helpful for anxiety and trauma. They helped my child immensely. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Oct 2003

Re: Sensory Integration Disorder
For Equine Therapy, (hippotherapy) I recommend Halleck Creek Riding Club in Nicasio. It's a no cost program for kids of all ages with disabilities. It takes about an hour to get there from Berkeley and is well worth the drive. For more information call the director, Julie Cassel, at 415-662-2488. beverly

Regarding equine or ''hippotherapy'' - it's great stuff, and wonderful for kids with sensory issues. Xenophon in Orinda does a great job. They run from May through October. They usually have a waiting list, but put your name on it - things can open up more quickly than you think 925)377-0174. There is also a program in Nicasio, which is apparently free - I have no idea what it is like - call Julie, coordinator at 415)662-2488. I have heard of a program that recently started in the Oakland Hills (maybe Joaquin Miller?). Best of luck to you. sara

I can't answer all your questions, but the equine therapy is recommended for issues around propriaception. The Parelli Method of Horse-man-ship (remember the horse whisperer?) is what is best. We found a wonderful woman in Patty Millage in El Sobrante, who is studying Parelli, is training in H.A.N.D.L.E. and has a small ranch with very gentle horses. Her rates were extremely reasonable, too. Her number is 223-7249. ect

March 2003

I am looking for recommendations for hippotherapy in the Bay Area (as close to Berkeley as possible) for a 2 year old. My son has special needs including very low trunk tone and we've been told that hippotherapy would be great for him. I've looked at a few websites and made a few calls but would really like to know if anyone can recommend a good place. And, I would especially love to know about a place that might also accommodate my typically developing 4.5 year old. (Seems unfair that his brother gets to do all the fun stuff!!) Thanks!! mp

hi. my daughter (now 8 yrs old) started at Xenophon in Orinda when she was 5 yrs old. She has sensory integration dysfunction issues, including low trunk tone. she loves hippotherapy, aka therapeutic riding and it has been great for her on a lot of levels. Xenophon is a certified hippotherapy center. i believe that kids need to be 4 or 5 years old to join, and the waiting list is long ( i think that i waited a year or two). Unfortuneatly, your child's sib would not be able to ride too. The program is very labor intensive - 2 sidewalkers (volunteers), a front walker, the therapy horse and an instructor are involved. I bring my other daughter to watch and she plays with some other siblings that are waiting ring-side. i think that they are listed in information, otherwise, contact me and i'll get you the information. good luck! sara