Jeremy uses hippotherapy as a tool. he is riding a horse backwards with three adults standing around him

Goal: Increased Muscle Strength, Balance, and Flexibility

When Jeremy’s mother, Rose, learned about the Physical Therapy (PT) services available at The Bridge Center, she was excited about the possibilities available to him. She was particularly interested in his potential use of Hippotherapy, which uses equine movement during PT sessions. Jeremy, who is nonverbal Autistic, was ready for additional therapy to work on functional goals such as increasing muscle strength, balance, and flexibility. In addition to those goals, other objectives for Jeremy’s therapy were to foster positive interaction with others while ensuring a fun and positive experience.

Jeremy’s team at The Bridge Center includes Physical Therapist Emma S., volunteers Beth and Sharon, and horse Lucky Lionel. Emma incorporated Hippotherapy into Jeremy’s treatment sessions to utilize the rhythmic, multidimensional movement pattern of the horse to help him reach his goals. This movement plays a pivotal role in reaching Jeremy’s strength and coordination goals and has the added impact of improving self-confidence, executive functioning, self-regulation, and more.

Every week, Jeremy’s family watches his sessions from the Observation Room, witnessing his joyful exploration while participating in various Physical Therapy activities both on and off his horse. Since beginning Hippotherapy, Jeremy has undergone a remarkable transformation in self-confidence. “I am grateful for Jeremy’s wonderful support team at The Bridge Center,” Rose said. The team’s constant encouragement and consistent routines have helped Jeremy make meaningful gains and growth. Though initially hesitant about wearing a helmet and belt, Jeremy now approaches these tasks with confidence, understanding their role in enhancing his enjoyment of activities. With Hippotherapy, Jeremy continues to make significant progress toward his therapy goals while making additional advancements in improved safety and independence.

Choosing The Bridge Center has proven to be one of the best decisions Rose has made for Jeremy. She cites the nurturing environment, the warmth and inclusivity of the staff, and the wide range of activities beyond Hippotherapy, such as Recreation and Camp, which collectively cultivate personal growth. Jeremy’s journey from initial apprehension to pure enjoyment over the weeks and months of Hippotherapy has reinforced Rose’s certainty that The Bridge Center is the perfect fit for his ongoing therapy. Rose added, “The collaboration between Jeremy’s team and me has been seamless, ensuring we are all aligned in our aspirations for Jeremy’s development.”

Jeremy’s family and ESMA team all agree that the progress he has made is incredible. As he continues with Therapeutic Services at The Bridge Center, Jeremy remains on a path of growth, steadily meeting his Physical Therapy goals while having fun along the way.

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