Year published: 2013
There are currently 6 reviews investigating the effects of hippotherapy and Therapeutic Horse Riding (THR) on children withCerebral Palsy (CP). Liptak, Whalen and Case-Smith and Sterba all found positive effects on GMFM and recommend it to improve function. Snider et al. compared research in hippotherapy and THR as an intervention and found evidence supporting the use of hippotherapy on muscle symmetry of trunk and hips but not for THR. Last year Zadnikar and Kastrin found that hippotherapy positively affects postural control in those with CP.
Many of the studies included in these reviews are more than 10 years old and in order to create a broad synthesis that reflects current literature this paper proposes to examine 3 key elements of CP that result in debilitating effects: function via GMFM, gait and posture. By investigating these elements, this systematic review aims to establish whether hippotherapy and THR can be used as a beneficial rehabilitation technique in patients with CP. Including both a meta-analysis and meta-synthesis not only increases the certainty of the effect conclusions by calculating weighted effect sizes but also the meta-synthesis aims to organise collected data by describing relevant properties and contrasting methodology quality and results.