Researchers at Baylor University have created a mechanical horse to mimic the actions of a real horse. The goal of the project is to have a machine that children or adults can use if they are scared of horses or if they can not get up high on the horse. This mechanical horse is the first of its kind to use a three dimensional system. It is meant to be a complimentary therapy or a tool to progress to riding on a real horse. Additional research is planned for the mechanical horse.
I am not very well versed in hippotherapy but I have to say with no horse there is something missing. It is my opinion, that one of the benefits of hippotherapy beyond the physical benefits is the bond that a child creates with the horse. The experience of being outdoors riding on a real horse also offers benefits.
I would love to hear from therapists who specialize in hippotherapy on this topic.
Reference: Baylor University Baylor Researchers Build Advanced Mechanical Horse For Therapy Retrieved from the web on 5/6/09 from http://www.baylor.edu/pr/news.php?action=story&story=58672