This article aims, to evaluate the literature on the efficacy of equine assisted activities and therapies (EAAT) on gross motor outcomes representing the ICF component of body functions and activity in children with cerebral palsy (CP).
We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials and observational studies of hippotherapy (HPOT) and therapeutic horseback riding (TR) for children with spastic CP. Gross motor outcomes, assessed via muscle activity and muscle tone, gait, posture and Gross Motor Function Measures (GMFM) were evaluated.
This systematic review found insufficient evidence to support the claim that long-term TR or HPOT provide a significant benefit to children with spastic CP. We found no statistically significant evidence of either therapeutic effect or maintenance effects on the gross motor activity status in CP children.
This review summarized 14 studies that reported the effectiveness of horseback riding intervention on gross motor outcome in children with CP and performed a meta-analysis examining the effects of these interventions on measurable gross motor function.
Poor postural control is one of the fundamental impairments in children with CP. During riding, these children made postural adjustments as a response to the movement generated by the horse.
Impaired postural control, muscle weakness, and abnormal muscle tone all contribute to the abnormal gait patterns commonly seen in CP children.