• collage of therapy students
  • A photo of two young hippotherapy students being led around the farm on horseback.
  • photo of hippotherapy class

Hippotherapy Eligibility & Enrollment


Any person diagnosed with an emotional, physical, or cognitive disability from age 2 years and older is eligible to apply. We require a physician’s signature/approval and will review precautions and contraindications with our therapists. Our hippotherapy program is designed to treat individuals with disabilities who show measurable progress toward their established physical or occupational therapy goals. It is not a therapeutic recreational program. Factors which make a person ineligible for services include conduct endangering themselves, staff or horses, exceeding hippotherapy weight limit of 150 pounds, and excessive high/low tone, postural sway, or unbalance impacting equine and staff safety and health. Please review all program policies here.


Students are required to wear riding helmets during the mounted time. Carlisle Academy provides students with a properly fitted ASTM/SEI approved riding helmet. Students who wish to use their own helmet must present it to a staff member for approval. The helmet cannot be more than 5 years old and must bear the ASTM/SEI certified seal. No bike or ski helmets are allowed. Students ride on pads in hippotherapy with no stirrups typically. Sweat pants or leggings are appropriate. Slippery wind pants are not recommended. Sneakers are allowed, however open-toed shoes are not. 

Hours of Operation

Therapy Program Days: Wednesday and Thursday, 10-6
See the current calendar for specific dates.

Hippotherapy Enrollment Process

There are steps that students must meet before we can enroll them in our program.

  1. The first step is to contact the office to discuss space availability and program suitability (207-985-0374, info@carlisleacademymaine.com).
  2. The office can assist with the client documentation (see below) including funding resources and scholarships through our charitable partner, the Carlisle Charitable Foundation.
  3. An intake meeting will be scheduled with Carlisle’s therapy staff to establish an individualized plan of care.
  4. Once the enrollment material is completed and the medical paperwork has been reviewed, the client can be enrolled in an upcoming session or placed on a waiting list. No student may begin at Carlisle until the necessary paperwork is received.
  5. Enrollment midway through a session is considered on a case-by-case basis.

Additional considerations:

  • Students with specific treatment plans that include specialized emergency procedures, medical prescriptions, or actions to be taken around behavioral issues, must have a parent/caregiver accompany them to each session at Carlisle.
  • Some students may be difficult to provide services for because of a physical, mental or behavioral challenge that scares or threatens those around them, most especially the horses. Carlisle staff will attempt to create the best student, horse, staff and sidewalker combinations possible. Carlisle reserves the right to deny or remove a student from a therapy session if their actions jeopardize the safety of the horses, staff, or him/herself.

Begin Enrollment

Please, read the following information carefully, and contact our office if you have any questions.

As part of our Core Values…
We believe in the power of the horse to teach, inspire, and heal while providing a unique movement and presence that can be scientifically demonstrated to benefit a person’s functional health and resiliency.