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New Jersey
Pediatric Rehabilitation & Family Wellness Center Of The Month
Story Number is : 051011100
Hospital Newspaper

Rocking Horse Rehab (RHR) is a pediatric rehabilitation and family wellness center specializing in alternative therapies for families with special needs. A variety of medical and psychiatric conditions are treated at RHR including Autism, ADD, Cerebral Palsy, traumatic brain injuries, emotional and behavioral disorders, brain tumors, spinal cord injuries and many other developmental, congenital and acquired disorders.

RHR proudly offers a comprehensive array of therapeutic services which include; Speech, Physical, Occupational Therapy, Hippotherapy, Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy, Therapeutic Riding, Aquatic Therapy, Music Therapy, Therapeutic Yoga, And Therapeutic Martial Arts. Rocking Horse Rehab offers exciting, multi-sensory educational programs and field trips to schools for the disabled as well as summer intensive programs in August.

This year, Rocking Horse Rehab is launching a series of new programs for adults. Horses For Heroes is program being offered specifically for US Veterans and their families. This program uses a combination of equine facilitated psychotherapy, speech, physical or occupational therapy to promote physical, cognitive, and emotional well being. In addition, Peace-Love-Ponies is a new program offering a combination of services including yoga and equine facilitated psychotherapy to promote emotional, spiritual, and physical well being. Peace-Love Ponies is being offered to Moms of children with special needs, siblings of children with special needs and US Veterans.
Rocking Horse Rehab is well known for their Equine Assisted Therapy programs. They pride themselves on their outstanding reputation for providing exceptional, effective and safe therapy services by highly trained staff. Sheri. A. Marino-Haiken, Executive Director has been offering Hippotherapy for nearly 18 years and says “It is a ‘whole body’ approach to treatment because it affects all physiologic systems simultaneously.” Hippotherapy is defined by The American Hippotherapy Association (AHA) as a treatment strategy which uses equine movement to achieve functional goals. It is provided by Speech, Physical and Occupational Therapists who have received specialized training in equine movement, equine psychology, and movement science. Research suggests that Hippotherapy may have positive effects on a patient’s posture, muscle tone, and balance. The three dimensional movement of the horse, which can not be duplicated on any piece of therapeutic equipment, helps stimulate the arousal mechanism of the central nervous system effecting the patients motor skills, speech/language, sensory processing and attending skills. Essentially, functional outcomes are achieved through improvements in; posture, balance, mobility, motor control, flexibility, sensory processing, and communication skills. For most children with special needs, going to therapy is often stressful and redundant. Hippotherapy is certainly not your typical therapy lesson, sitting at a table, working on a mat, or doing drills! Hippotherapy is a clinical treatment strategy. Its intent is not for recreational purposes. However, at Rocking Horse Rehab some of the greatest smiles can be seen on children's faces during their therapy sessions!

Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP) is defined as experiential psychotherapy that includes equines. EFP may be used to treat a variety of psycho-social disorders such as ADHD, anxiety, Asperger’s Disorder, behavioral issues, depression, grief and loss, mood disorders, post-traumatic stress, and recovery from addiction. The EFP programs are conducted by a licensed clinical social worker with training in equine facilitated mental health. Rocking Horse Rehab offers unique psychotherapy programs for families including “Saddles and Sunshine,” a sibling support group and our social skills training program, “Horsemanship/Humanship Skills: How Horses Make Us Better People.” This program utilizes the social connections made between horses and humans, by transforming horsemanship skills learned at the barn to humanship skills practiced at home and school!

RHR is located within the Essex Equestrian center in West Orange, New Jersey. The clinic occupies approximately 2000 square feet of fully equipped treatment rooms, offices, a kitchen, and a beautiful reception area with seven viewing windows overlooking our Olympic size, heated, indoor arena. At Rocking Horse Rehab, you are assured the highest quality therapy services from state licensed and certified therapists who have been trained by the American Hippotherapy Association and are registered with the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA). For more information call 973-731-8588 or go to and view media clips from NBC, CBS, NJN, and other cable networks that have highlighted the center on the evening news!

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