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Walk On Offers to Enhance Speech/Language Skills - Program to resume in Spring 2024


Walk On Therapeutic Riding is partnering with Unbridled Abilities, LLC to offer a new hippotherapy program using horses to further the speech and language goals of children and adults.

“Hippotherapy is a great treatment tool,” said speech therapist and Unbridled Abilities’ owner Madeline Boe, and can be tailored in different ways to help meet specific physical, occupational, and speech therapy goals.

The movement of the horse can facilitate aspects of the nervous system that support speech production and language use.  Core postural control, sensory processing, respiratory support, and motor control/ coordination are a few of the body’s systems that are positively impacted by equine movement, Boe explained.  This input can be altered by changing the horse’s speed or the terrain it travels over.  Additionally, the rider’s position or the horse’s tack can be adjusted to achieve different outcomes.  These benefits, paired with standard therapy techniques, result in improved communication for the rider.  

“Burnout occurs in therapy, too, and incorporating horses into the treatment plan is a great way to be outside and still work on functional goals without being in a clinical setting,” Boe said.

Ken Giske, executive director and PATH Certified Instructor for Walk On, indicates this is a tremendous partnership to enhance Walk On’s therapeutic riding programs. “While therapeutic riding involves developing and using adaptive riding skills, hippotherapy uses all aspects of the equine experience to improve speech and language functions.”

Madeline Boe is a certified speech therapist and a PATH International Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor. She has been a speech-language pathologist for three years and worked in multiple settings, including an outpatient clinic, home health, skilled nursing, and a public school.

Classes are held at Walk On Therapeutic Riding in River Falls, WI. .

“Kids learn best through play so if we can work goals into something they enjoy and don’t see as work, it’s a win for everybody.”

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