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ack in the Saddle Hippotherapy LogoBack in the Saddle Hippotherapy Program

Maureen Corcoran is a physical therapist who runs her own physical therapy organization, Corcoran Physical Therapy. In September of 1994—after learning how effective horses are when applied as a treatment modality, and after riding with her own daughters—Corcoran founded Back in the Saddle Hippotherapy Program.

In January 1995, Corcoran began seeing mostly children referred to her from physical therapy centers. She conducts the therapy at Glen Grove Equestrian Center in Morton Grove, Illinois. (See Hippotherapy Organizations.) Corcoran noticed that children with cerebral palsy or developmental delays seemed to have the best outcomes.

Patients respond to the steady rhythmic movement of a horse and experience increased balance, strengthening of the trunk, and greater control of head movements.

Corcoran has two physical therapists working in the program, as well as three assistants and several volunteer horse-handlers and side-walkers for safety. Corcoran encourages the use of hippotherapy as an effective therapy tool. She says hippotherapy is covered on insurance policies that cover physical therapy. Back in the Saddle Hippotherapy Program belongs to 15 HMOs and PPOs. The organization is CPT/MAC certified by the Division of Services in Specialized Care (DSSC). Corcoran also works as a physical therapy consultant for other therapeutic riding programs.

Corcoran enjoys working with patients and witnessing the tremendous progress made through hippotherapy. Six-year old Mallory Corrus, a little girl with cerebral palsy has made significant progress. Says Corcoran, "In my 17 years experience as a physical therapist, there has not been a more effective treatment modality than the use of a horse's movement for treating neurodevelopmental disorders."