What is Hippotherapy?
    The term hippotherapy refers to how Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Speech-Language Pathology Professionals use evidence-based practice and clinical reasoning in the purposeful manipulation of equine movement as a therapy tool to engage sensory, neuromotor and cognitive systems to promote functional outcomes. At BINA Farm Center, hippotherapy is utilized by Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists. Speech-language services are currently not provided. A Client who comes to BINA Farm Center for Physical or Occupational Therapy services works one on one with a Therapist to increase gross motor function, fine motor skills, sensory integration or independence with ADLs. During a treatment session, Therapists will work towards goals using various tools and activities both on and off the horse as appropriate.

    Why use a horse?
    The movement of a horse is multidimensional, symmetric, rhythmic, and repetitive. When an individual is seated astride a horse, they will feel a similar movement pattern to a typical human gait. A Client receives repeated opportunities to practice appropriate balance responses, motor planning, coordination skills and postural responses. The horse and the surrounding environment provides a spectrum of sensory and motor input. A Clinician can continually modulate the horse’s gait and movement for variability to create altered input or challenge for a Client depending on the desired physiological response.

    Is Hippotherapy the same as Adaptive or Therapeutic Riding?
    No. Therapeutic (Adaptive) Riding is recreational riding lessons for individuals with special needs, taught by a Certified Therapeutic (Adaptive) Riding Instructor. It is focused on developing riding skills. Hippotherapy is a medically based treatment tool used by licensed PTs, OTs, or SLPs integrated into a Client’s plan of care to improve functional outcomes.

    How do I know which service is best for my child?
    BINA can help you determine the appropriate service based on you and your child’s goals, age, medical background and initial evaluation by either a Therapist or Certified a Therapeutic (Adaptive) Riding Instructor.

    What ages do you serve?
    BINA Farm provides therapy for Clients as young as age 2. Adults can be considered for participation in therapy services utilizing equine movement on an individual basis if safety can be ensured.

    Can any individual with special needs use Hippotherapy as treatment tool?
    Hippotherapy is not suitable for everyone. It is not appropriate for anyone with horse allergies or intolerance to an outdoor environment, individuals with uncontrolled grand mal seizures, unstable spinal or joint conditions, or any condition in which movement will cause an aggravation of a medical condition, an increase in pain or decrease the Client’s function. Not all precautions or contraindications are clear cut, so the Therapist, in conjunction with your child’s Physician if necessary, will determine if Hippotherapy is an appropriate tool for your child.

    Does insurance cover Hippotherapy?
    Some insurance companies will partially or fully reimburse for Physical, Occupational or Speech Language Therapy utilizing Hippotherapy. BINA does not bill insurance directly, but will provide families with documentation necessary to submit for potential reimbursement directly to their insurance company. Please contact BINA’s accounting department for further recommendations on this process.

    Do I need a doctor’s referral?
    BINA requires that each Participant’s Physician fill out a Medical History and Physician Statement form annually.

    What is involved in an evaluation?
    During a 45-minute evaluation, a Physical or Occupational Therapist will assess your child’s functional abilities with relevant caregiver interview, followed by a short mounted assessment. Following assessment, the Therapist and Parent will discuss Client suitability for services and determine an appropriate plan of care and goals.

    How often and how long are the sessions?
    BINA provides therapy services throughout the year, divided into: Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. Each semester is approximately 12-16 weeks. Each treatment session is typically 30 minutes and most commonly the session is once a week. Increased session duration or frequency is sometimes an option based on Therapist recommendation and availability.

    When getting a script from my Doctor, what should it say?
    Prescriptions from your Doctor should read “Physical/Occupational Therapy: evaluation and treat.” A prescription should not be for “Hippo therapy” as it is not a stand alone treatment, but rather a tool that is integrated into a Patient’s plan of care, along with other tools and/or strategies.

    How do I seek reimbursement?
    Not all insurance providers or plans will cover Physical, Occupational or Speech Therapy services when equine movement/hippo therapy is used as a treatment tool, but we encourage families to seek reimbursement. Contact your provider and ask for a written list of exclusions for outpatient therapy services. Avoid asking “if they cover therapy services using "hippo therapy” as this will often be a flag for them to attempt to deny coverage for services. This will allow you to determine if there will be notable barriers in seeking reimbursement specific to your plan. BINA will issue a Statement of Services at the end of each quarterly session (i.e. Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer). Once you have received your Statement of Services, follow instructions on your provider’s website to fill out a Reimbursement Claim form. In addition to the Statement of Services, additional documentation items available at your request include:

    • Initial PT/OT Evaluation
    • Annual Re-evaluation
    • Daily treatment notes
    • Your Therapist can also help fill out any Prior Authorization Forms your plan may request.

    BINA Farm Center does not guarantee that third party payers will reimburse for Physical or Occupational Therapy services rendered, but we will do our best to support you through the process. Also, please note, if our services are full and you are on a waitlist, it may be in your best interest to look for another program as we cannot guarentee any timeline for services.