Back in the Saddle Warriors™

Equine-assisted Therapy

BITS_patch
Back in the Saddle Warriors™ (BITS) is Heartbeat’s clinical and evidence based Equine Assisted Therapy which consists of Hippotherapy.

Providers include: Occupational Therapist with Level 1 hippotherapy certification and a PATH certified trainer.  Volunteers are also used as sidewalkers.

BITS Brochure for Participants                     BITS Brochure for Donors

BITS August 2014 Newsletter

How Hippotherapy Works

These evidence-based therapies improve muscle strength, psychological well-being, motor development, balance, and coordination. Therapy addresses many injuries including

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Speech injuries
  • Loss of limbs
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Click here for a great informational flyer on Hippotherapy

Check out the following Ride Along Demonstration by The Shea Center

The J.F. Shea Therapeutic Riding Center, located in San Juan Capistrano CA, is dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities through therapeutic horse-related programs.  http://www.sheacenter.org/

 

Back in the Saddle FAQ

What is the difference between a wounded and injured service member?

The military defines these terms differently. If the soldier is hurt in an accident while here at home, it’s called an injury. If the soldier is hurt while in a battle or war, it’s called wounded. That is also the term if the soldier is in a car accident while overseas.

Does Heartbeat help both wounded and injured soldiers?

Most of our programs are for both wounded and injured.

Why do you help only the wounded? Don’t others need your help too?

All warriors and their families deserve our time and appreciation. Many organizations serve both wounded and non-wounded. We did at one time too. We realized that we could serve more wounded warriors if we focused completely on them.

How do the soldiers feel about the help Heartbeat provides?

Wounded warriors often send words of appreciation. They’re families are grateful too. Sometimes they write letters. Sometimes they tell us in person. They let us know the huge impact our programs have on their lives.

What is Back in the Saddle Warriors™?

Back in the Saddle Warriors is Heartbeat’s clinical and evidence based Equine Assisted Therapy which consists of Hippotherapy . Providers include: Occupational Therapist with Level 1 hippotherapy certification and a PATH certified trainer. Volunteers are also used as sidewalkers .

These evidence-based therapies improve muscle strength, psychological well-being, motor development, balance, and coordination. Therapy addresses many injuries including

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Speech injuries
  • Loss of limbs
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

What is hippotherapy?

Hippotherapy is an equine-assisted therapy. The warrior sits on the horse and uses its movement as a physical therapy. This isn’t horseback riding as we usually think of it.

Licensed physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech therapists provide this treatment. While the warrior sits on the horse, the therapist guides the animal and makes changes in its movements. The warrior’s health goals determine how and when these changes are made.

Hippotherapy providers have training and certification approved by the American Hippotherapy Association. The therapy team includes horse trainers certified through the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association.

How does hippotherapy work?

Horses and humans have something in common, a pelvis that works the same way. Both have identical hip movements when walking. While sitting on a moving horse, this allows a person’s body parts to move naturally. It strengthens muscle groups.

Even for someone without injuries, staying upright on a horse requires balance, coordination, and muscle strength. War injuries sometimes affect these abilities. Hippotherapy may help wounded warriors make improvements not achieved with other treatments.

How does equine-assisted therapy help emotionally?

Warriors are natural protectors. It’s their job to take charge and perform brave acts every day. Injuries sometimes make it impossible to contribute any longer. It dramatically changes the warrior’s role — in the family, in the job, and in society.

The relationship between human and horse is a special one. Horses, gentle and sensitive, have a unique ability to sense human emotions. This special bond helps warriors work through difficult issues.

Hippotherapy and equine-assisted psychotherapy help wounded warriors find newfound strength. This success contributes to positive, lifelong changes. In turn, this affects family and society.

How does a wounded warrior qualify for help?

Almost anyone can make the first call to Heartbeat to get help — warrior, family member, or provider. After the warrior’s health care provider approves treatment, we can offer the service. The provider can be an occupational therapist, physical therapist, speech therapist, or doctor.

Who qualifies to be in our clinical hippotherapy program?

At this time we only serve Wounded or Injured from GWOT in Washington State.

Who pays for equine-assisted therapy?

As with all our programs and services, donations are the only source of support for Back in the Saddle Warriors. We offer services free to our heroes.

Our brave, wounded warriors sustained their injuries while they defended our freedom and way of life. They put their lives on the line for complete strangers. Heartbeat firmly believes all of us owe it to our heroes to help them heal.

Where do I go for therapy?

Please e-mail or call Heartbeat for information about locations.

How can I volunteer?

Thank you for giving your time and your skills to this life-changing program. Your help brings joy and healing into the lives of our heroic, wounded warriors and their families.

Please contact Janice Buckley, Heartbeat president, for more information about volunteering. You may also complete our volunteer application without contacting us first.

Heartbeat Serving Wounded Warriors: Let the Healing Begin...