Hippotherapy (HT) and Therapeutic Riding (ThR) and Riding for the Disabled (RDA)



Hippotherapy is neurophysiologically based Physiotherapy with the help of the horse. The horse serves as the therapeutic medium by transmitting movement with the patient in the sitting position, posture reflexes are practiced with the aid of the horse’s walk specific forward movement.

Hippotherapy is a dynamic therapy using the multi-dimensional movement of the horse to improve neuromuscular functioning and sensory processing in the rider.

Hippotherapy is a medically prescribed treatment technique conducted by health care professionals who have had the required training and have the certification to prove it.
The goal is rehabilitation through the motion of the horse.
Riding skills are not taught!
Hippotherapy can be used as a stepping stone to Therapeutic riding.

Hippotherapy requires a therapeutic riding instructor and helpers. All involved in this activity including the horse, need to undergo specific training. Otherwise this could potentially be harmful to the student or the horse.


Therapeutic Riding:

Active riding skills and control of the horse are being taught, in addition to the rider learning to balance and move, sitting astride the moving horse, moving through space. The initial pace used is always the walk, but trotting and cantering can be part of the therapeutic goal.

Physical, emotional, sensorial and tactile disabilities can also be addressed.

Therapeutic Riding is taught by a specifically qualified instructor. Helpers would be used according to the rider’s ability. The horse has to undergo specific training.


Riding for the Disabled:

The rider learns active riding skills with adapted equipment and tailored to the rider’s abilities or physical disabilities. Normal riding skills are taught including dressage tests and riding at different paces. Riders can choose to participate in specific competitions that can lead up to the Paralympics.

Helpers may be included initially but usually are not required further down the line. RDA has to be instructed by a specifically trained and qualified instructor, who is advised on Horse and use of equipment by a specifically trained Physiotherapist.

Medical guidance and approval is essential for the safety and protection of the student in any of the three disciplines.

Medical indications and contraindications may differ for referral to either Hippotherapy, Therapeutic riding or Riding for the Disabled!


Latest News

CANCELLED Special Olympics Qualifier - March 20th

In light of the current situation we would like to inform you that all RDB sessions are cancelled until further notice. Please take care and stay safe. We hope to get back to normality ASAP. 

Awards won at the Disabled Special Olympics - October 18th

The Riding for the Disabled Special Olympics Regional Competition was held on 18th October at Bensafrim.  RDB entered 9 Competitors for the competition: 5 from NECI, 2 from Algoz and 2 from Santo Amaro. 

These are the medals we won!

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Lucelia Wins Silver Medals At The Special Olympic World Games In Abu Dhabi

Lucelia Gloria, aged 30, a rider from Riding For The Disabled Barlavento (RDB) has won two silver medals at the above games. Lucelia won her two medals in the Level CS – English working trails and the Level CS – English equitation.

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