Use in Hippo-therapy, Equine Therapy, Therapeutic Riding

How the OTvest can Assist with Hippotherapy, Equine Therapy, and Therapeutic Riding

The OTvest™ denim weighted vest soothes anxiety and provides trunk stability to the wearer engaging in hippotherapy, equine therapy or therapeutic riding!

Hippotherapy is administered by an occupational or physical therapist who has been trained specifically to use a horse in therapy. The therapy goals of special needs individuals are achieved by using the movement of the horse. In this case, the horse is used to influence the person, rather than the person directing the horse. When the therapist observes the client’s response to how the therapist directs the horse, goals can be adjusted. In this setting, the OTvest™ denim weighted vest can be useful in helping treat anxiety for an individual that is transitioning to equine-assisted therapy. The mild pressure on the scapula (shoulder-blade) and across the upper chest and back that the OTvest™ denim weighted vest provides increases the trunk stability, and can stimulate pressure down into the saddle.

The OTvest™, a weighted vest that acts as a deep pressure therapy vest, can not only treat anxiety and help add focus, but when it comes to equine or hippotherapy, the OTvest™ can:

  • Help calm an anxious beginning rider, decreasing stress for those who have difficulty adapting to new experiences
  • Help balance a beginner rider and provide increased trunk stability when that stability is lacking or diminished
  • Provide proprioceptive input for increased body/kinesthetic awareness so that the rider can have a greater sense of security on the horse
  • Increase the impact of the rhythmic movement from the gait of the horse by stabilizing the trunk, so that the desired pelvic movement is more synchronized
  • Help increase the awareness of the body in space, which is particularly helpful for those lacking coordination or who have difficulty with movement
  • Encourage the rider to have more trunk awareness and increased stimulus to press down into the pelvis and saddle


Therapeutic riding, as opposed to hippotherapy, focuses on teaching riding skills for health, education, sport, and recreation. Horseback riding lessons in this instance are adapted to those with disabilities. Therapeutic riding doesn’t require a medical professional, but most instructors are PATH International (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) certified, meaning they are trained in working with people with disabilities. The use of the OTvest™ denim weighted vest, as described above, applies in the same ways for use in therapeutic riding. 

A woman with dystonia, who had been attending therapeutic riding, wrote us after receiving the OTvest™. This is her first letter, as she wrote almost daily after receiving the OTvest™, as she was amazed at the difference it was making in her movement, sleep, and other daily abilities:

“Dear Nancy [OTvest™ creator],

Just received my OTvest™ less than an hour ago. I love it and can already tell I am using my arms better. I am even being more accurate with the keyboard as I sit to type this. My PT and therapeutic riding instructor have been working very hard on my shoulders and arms this week, as they were extremely tight. I put on the vest and they went immediately limp. It is as if I don’t have any tone at all in that area, which of course has calmed my whole system down. The vest feels very much like my therapist’s hands constantly on my shoulders. First impressions are that I love it!

I don’t want to take it off!

Thank you for everything.

Jennifer Zubko, Canada

Horseback riding offers many other benefits to development, including:

  • Balance and coordination improvements
  • Core strength improvements
  • Posture improvements
  • Sensory integration
  • Awareness of one’s body in space (kinesthesia, or the sense that detects bodily position, weight, or movement of the muscles, tendons, and joints)
  • Attention improvement

Hippotherapy, therapeutic riding, and the OTvest™ denim weighted vest can be used to help treat autism spectrum disorders. The OTvest™ can help naturally treat cognitive disorders, help naturally treat ADHD, help naturally treat cerebral palsy, sensory processing disorders, speech and language impairments, and more!

Look for the yellow "OTvest" label on the chest pocket to make sure you are getting the genuine OTvest. Others may look like the OTvest from the outside, but the weight placement is important. Only the OTvest has the patented weighted insert with weight lying directly upon the body. This makes the difference!

Place an order by clicking here.

For more detailed information, please visit The above information is adapted from this source.

Colorado State University’s Temple Grandin Equine Center