PROGRAMS & SERVICES
We are all individuals, and at Exceptional Equestrians we embrace that fact. We offer an array of progressive equine assisted therapies including hippotherapy, adaptive riding and equine-assisted learning. The broad scope of our offerings allows us to accommodate riders of varying abilities, geared to meet the specific needs of each client.
Every new client receives an individualized assessment to assist in determining the most appropriate program based on his or her unique characteristics and goals.
Download our riding program registration forms.
To learn more about our programs and to determine which might be best for you or your family member, pleases contact Lisa Kafka at email@example.com.
Available for ages 2 and up, hippotherapy is an individualized treatment by a licensed and registered clinician with expert knowledge in the use of the horse’s movement to facilitate a pre-determined outcome.
At Exceptional Equestrians, hippotherapy is provided by our licensed occupational and physical therapists, and we are lucky enough to have one of the few hippotherapy clinical specialists in Wisconsin, on site.
During a hippotherapy session, the therapist and equine will challenge the rider’s motor and sensory systems. The therapist will use speed, direction change, positioning, and equipment to elicit the desired response. The three-dimensional movement of the horse stimulates a multi-system response in the body of the rider. The hippotherapy clinician may add additional activities to stimulate other systems such as vision, auditory, respiratory, speech, or cognition to achieve functional outcomes.
Hippotherapy strengthens the muscles needed for head and trunk control, facilitates motor learning and coordination, and has a significant impact on speech and respiration. It also optimizes the rider’s arousal level, leading to improved attention and interaction with the environment.
Riders with physical impairments gain mobility, strength, and endurance, leading to new or improved motor skills. Riders with sensory impairments gain organization as well as the ability to focus their attention and engage with others.
The unique physical and emotional bond between rider and horse inspires our riders to work on skills and achieve goals, often without realizing how hard they are actually working.
Lisa Kafka, OTR, HPCS, is the director of our hippotherapy program. She is a licensed occupational therapist, a certified hippotherapy clinical specialist through the American Hippotherapy Association, and a registered riding instructor through PATH International. Lisa is also a certified Neuro-Developmental Treatment therapist.
For ages 4 and up, adaptive riding is offered in a group format and is supervised by a PATH-certified therapeutic riding instructor.
Each rider has horse and equipment chosen specifically to accommodate their needs.
Riders are stimulated and challenged by the sensory motor input from the horse while working on tasks that align with their ability, goals, and interests.
In addition to the gross and fine motor benefits, adaptive riding offers an opportunity for growth in other developmental areas including cognition, speech, and socialization. Adaptive riding is designed to promote peer interaction, problem solving, and learning, all while receiving the sensory-motor input provided by the horse.
Group tasks focus on sequencing, motor learning, communication, and cooperative play.
Riders get an introduction into basic horse care and riding skills, and those who seek to progress towards independent riding can focus on horsemanship and equestrian skills.
With progressive levels, our therapeutic riding program is designed to help each individual achieve their personal goals, and riders are grouped accordingly.
Eligibility requirements for participation in adaptive riding include:
No orthopedic contraindications or mobility restrictions requiring direct therapist intervention
Download the adaptive riding schedule and registration form.
Taking the Lead Equine-Assisted Learning Program
Corporate groups, teams, and individuals utilize equine-assisted learning programs to improve individual and group communication skills, team building, and problem solving.
Creative activities use interaction with horses to address identified goals, producing key experiences and life-changing results.
This experience is effective for leadership and team building, growing social skills and self esteem for pre– and early adolescents, and improving family relationships.
Download the Taking the Lead registration form.
Gait & Posture Analysis Lab
Because of a generous donation by the Cloud Family Foundation, Exceptional Equestrians is able to offer gait and posture analysis pre- and post-hippotherapy and clinic-based treatment.
Our gait mat and inclinometer tools allow our clinicians to collect objective data on the impact of hippotherapy on head and trunk control, balance and gait. Not only does this information assist us in measuring progress but helps our clinicians to make decisions regarding the treatment plan and establish appropriate functional goals.
Physical & Occupational Therapy Through Country Kids Pediatric Therapy Clinic
Research shows that equine-based therapies are most successful when paired with traditional, clinic-based therapies.
We are lucky to partner with Country Kids, a pediatric physical and occupational therapy clinic located on our campus.
Country Kids accepts private insurance and Medical Assistance for direct OT/PT services. Non-billable services require private pay or community resource funding.
Learn more about Country Kids Pediatric Therapy Clinic.