Riding Therapy


Riding Therapy Pioneers

Creates friendships   Helps muscle co-ordination   Builds self-confidence   It is great fun!

Therapeutic riding and hippotherapy provide multiple life-changing physical and social benefits to riders thanks to the movement, warmth and rhythm of the horse. Therapy rides are led by our trained volunteer Coaches who teach riding skills with an emphasis, where possible, on the therapeutic effects. Hippotherapy, from the Greek work ‘hippo’ meaning ‘horse’, is a form of physiotherapy on horseback and is led by a specialist physiotherapist called a hippotherapist.

Did you know that horses have a 3 dimensional movement which replicates the movement of the human at walk by 97%? The 3 movements are antero-posterial (forward and backward), lateral (side to side) and rotational.

Each time the horse takes a step he transfers this pattern of movement to the Rider, and with each step the Rider accommodates the movement, maintaining posture and balance over a moving base. Each step displaces the Rider’s centre of gravity stimulating a continuous righting reaction. All those core muscles are hard at work for the whole ride!

Physical improvements can be seen in,

  • Strength of core muscles
  • Balance
  • Muscle tone
  • Sitting posture
  • Muscle strength
  • Muscle symmetry
  • Muscle co-ordination
  • Functional movement
  • Gait pattern


Riding therapy can bring life-changing social benefits too; all the fun of making new friends, bonding with animals, enjoying the outdoors and achieving personal goals can see improvements in,

  • Self-confidence
  • Motivation
  • Concentration
  • Social skills
  • Academic performance


A pioneering partnership

Muirfield Riding Therapy is at the forefront of therapeutic riding. Working together, our physiotherapists, occupational therapists, education professionals and our specially trained volunteers and ponies are able to offer our riders the best therapeutic benefit. MRT’s lead physiotherapist Heather Falconer piloted a successful Riding therapy service between NHS Lothian and Muirfield Riding Therapy in 2009. This pioneering partnership became the Therapeutic Riding Service, part of NHS Lothian’s Children’s Physiotherapy Service.

Riding Therapy can also have benefits for Supported Volunteers learning about horse care;

  • Hygiene
  • Diet
  • Caring
  • Responsibility


All this can be achieved by our teams at Muirfield Riding Therapy!