I always thought that those orange holders at the Trader's Joe store designed to clip onto the cart and hold flowers would be useful for hippotherapy. So I explained what I needed and the store manager gave me one!
The cones fit in perfectly! I was able to attach the holder onto a tree so that clients could reach to remove or insert cones. Other set ups involved attaching the cone holder to the side of the horse on the tack or a basketball stand next to the horse. This freed up my hands for therapy.
My clients developed the visual motor skills to orient the cones in order to fit inside the holder- a great concept to work on with 2-3 year old cutie pies. The cone holder in the photo below is attached to the tack on the right side of the horse, requiring my client to shift weight and rotate while reaching to insert the cone.
One child was able to engage in insertion activities while standing on top of the horse and then squatting to insert each cone into the holder and then standing again to receive another. This worked on motor planning, sequencing, postural control and balance as he reached toward the cone holder from the squat position.
Cone activities may also be used to work on
- crossing midline
- transferring objects
- range of motion
- grasp patterns,
- trunk rotation,
- vestibular sensory stimulation with high/low movements,
- eye-hand coordination and
- visual attention and memory- when I moved the cone holder to different locations around the barn or trails so that clients needed to scan, say "whoa" and pull the reins to stop the horse at the cone holder and insert.
I have incorporated cone insertion or stacking activities into non-equine settings, as well. Learn how to add vibration to cone activities in the following video...