2016 Volume 28 Issue 8 Pages 2220-2226
[Purpose] This study evaluated the effects of hippotherapy on seated postural balance, dynamic balance, and functional performance in children with cerebral palsy and compared the effects of 12 and 24 sessions on seated postural balance. [Subjects and Methods] This study included 15 children with cerebral palsy aged between 5 and 10 years. Interventions: A hippotherapy protocol was performed for 30 minutes, twice a week, for 12 weeks. Postural balance in a sitting position was measured using an AMTI AccuSway Plus force platform 1 week before initiating the hippotherapy program and after 12 and 24 weeks. The Berg Balance Scale (BBS) and Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory (PEDI) were used before and after 24 sessions. [Results] Significant differences were observed for center of pressure (COP) variables, including medio-lateral (COPml), anteroposterior displacement (COPap), and velocity of displacement (VelCOP), particularly after 24 sessions. There were also significant differences in BBS scores and PEDI score increases associated with functional skills (self-care, social function, and mobility), caregiver assistance (self-care), social function, and mobility. [Conclusion] Hippotherapy resulted in improvement in postural balance in the sitting position, dynamic balance, and functionality in children with cerebral palsy, an effect particularly significant after 24 hippotherapy sessions.