After experiencing firsthand the therapeutic potential of interaction
with horses, Rachel G. '13 elected to pursue a Senior Project focused
on hippotherapy - a form of therapy using horses to improve neuromotor function without the teaching of riding skills. Rachel presented on her project and findings for the
school community on February 28th at 6:30 p.m. in the Capen Room.
The purpose of the Senior Project Program is to provide an in-depth, hands-on experience for self-motivated students who are ready to strike out beyond the traditional Stoneleigh-Burnham curriculum and delve into a particular interest. A lifelong horse enthusiast and rider, Rachel was driven to investigate hippotherapy for her Senior Project to better understand how the relationship between horse and rider works, and to decipher the healing capabilities of such a relationship.
She spent the summer of 2012 volunteering with early-intervention aged children (0-3 years old) at a barn near her home in Acton, Massachusetts. The children Rachel worked with had a variety of disabilities, but all were engaged in equine therapy as part of their overall therapeutic treatments.
In addition to her full senior year course load, Rachel has been independently reading and researching the origins of, use of, and developments in hippotherapy. Her experiences volunteering and knowledge learned in the research aspect of her project have inspired Rachel to consider pursuing further education around therapeutic treatments for early-intervention aged children.