Hippotherapy Northumberland

A new community club enabling children with disabilities to access a fun, physical and therapeutic sport activity on a horse has been launched.

Angela Torsch, from Bilton, is behind Hippotherapy Northumberland.

Hippotherapy is a form of therapy in which a therapist uses the characteristic movements of a horse to provide carefully-graded motor and sensory input.

It is a treatment approach that uses activities on the horse that are meaningful to the client and specifically address the individual’s goals.

Angela, a recently-retired NHS local community paediatric physiotherapist who is qualified in hippotherapy, will lead the sessions, assisted by helpers around the horse and child.

Who to contact

Contact Name
Angela Torsch
Contact Position

Where to go

Town Foot Farm
NE66 2HG

Local Offer

Local Offer Description

Where is it located and what areas does it cover?

Currently based in Shilbottle, open primarily to children in Northumberland

3. Who does your service provide for?

Children with  special needs, physical disabilities and developmental delay.

4. How can I start using the service?

 The club seeks sponsors and grants to meet 50% of the service cost in order to enable parental/family costs to remain accessible and affordable; yes personal budget should be able to pay for the service.

The costs to the family, in 2014, is £125 for a 6 week block of input . this is preceded by assessment and consultation with your medical specialist,nhs physiotherapist and any other partner...such as speech and language therapist, school...who are invited to input whatever is relevant and appropriate in this context for your child to maximise their learning and development even as they enjoy the horse and riding environment!

Direct contact by family is required, consent for contact with other professionals involved is required.

The club operates on the basis of opening opportunities for new children to participate..this means that children are asked to either switch to fortnightly sessions following their first term,if they continue...or to switch to alternate terms if membership numbers become too large. ( The family become members to participate! - a £6:00 annual membership charge!)As progress is made sessions are ‘stepped up’ to shared an extended session with a peer. This is usually a win-win for all concerned!

5. How are decisions made about who can use your service?

An assessment is pre-requisite to decide if we can help your child. The physiotherapist qualified in hippotherapy and  with extensive paediatric neuro-developmental experience will determine this. She will also liaise with your child’s specialist to ensure there are no factors which contra-indicate this pathway for your child. This is a safe practice precaution.

6. How do you communicate with service users and how are they

involved in decision making/planning?

The club has managed to communicate with families of non English speaking parents usually through extended family members; to date we have had Polish; Portugese; French; Chinese; families, volunteers and children whom we have been delighted to work with!

If signing is needed we embrace the skills of the familiar family/friend to be our translator! But the children learn quickly ..and we wait for them to give the horse commands with expectation that this stimulates their motivation to communicate in session as much as they are able to! ( touch signals also understood and accepted by horses and therapist!)

7. Is your service fully accessible?

We have a wheelchair accessible mounting block; a small ledge to wheel chair over at arena gallery entrance.

There is one toilet, yes wheelchair accessible- basic...it is a riding stables! No, there are no changing areas!

the ‘waiting area is in the arena area, off to one side; we aim to have child friendly activities available whilst your child is waiting...but cannot guarantee that a ‘helper’ is always available to engage at that ‘waiting activity’ area. Often there is :) - thanks to generous volunteer support!

8. What training are the staff supporting children and young people with

SEND had or are having?

The paediatric physiotherapist is hpc registered , csp registered; she  has work experience in neuro developmental paediatric physiotherapy in UK and overseas 20 years. She  pre-trains all volunteers with handling and support skills and helps with ‘how to’ before they work alongside in sessions….The volunteers feed back to her after sessions and any specific needs that are identified during the session will be registered and acted on…..But we work in partnership with you on the  child’s individual communication needs! ….You are the ‘specialist’ in your child’s specific needs and we will seek to work alongside your guidance ‘off horse’, and apply them while your child is ‘atop horse’ ! You may be asked to assist….training will be provided!

9. Who can I contact for further information?



Angela Torsch, Mrs

paediatric neuro developmental physiotherapist, certified in  hippotherapy.

Chair Hippotherapy Northumberland

Contact Name
Angela Torsch
Contact Email
Local Offer Age Bands
Primary (4-10 years)
Secondary (11-16 years)
Early Years (0-4 years)
Needs Level
SEN Provision Type

Last updated on: 14/08/2015

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