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, learning, behavioural 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.

My Riding Therapy Story
Let some of our riders tell you what Muirfield Riding Therapy means to them; click on a name to find out more –

Eilidh, Lydia, David and Charlie

A pioneering partnership
We are at the forefront of riding therapy in the U.K. In 2009, MRT Group physiotherapist, Heather Falconer, piloted a successful service between NHS Lothian and MRT. This pioneering partnership became the Therapeutic Riding Service, part of NHS Lothian’s Children’s Physiotherapy Service. Children’s Hippotherapy treatment is designed by Heather, who has a post graduate qualification in Hippotherapy . Riders attending Hippotherapy sessions show significant improvements in:

  • Core stability and muscle strength
  • Balance
  • Posture in sitting, standing and walking
  • Symmetry
  • Walking Pattern
  • Gross motor skills
  • Functional movement

Technological advances
We added another therapy pony to our stables in 2017. Our Mechanical Horse, Oreo! This horse-shaped, high tech piece of physiotherapy equipment responds to leg and hand movements like a real horse. Oreo is an important addition to our Centre, offering benefits to riders and therapists. Oreo helps our physiotherapists with riders’ biomechanics assessments, offering top of the range postural analysis to improve muscle tone, strength and symmetry.

Did you know? Horses have a 3-dimensional movement which replicates the movement of the human at walk by 97%! The 3 movements are anteroposterior (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 muscles are hard at work for the whole ride!

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 riders’:

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


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!