Congressman supports East Texas hippotherapy - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Congressman supports East Texas hippotherapy

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UPSHUR COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -

An East Texas congressman is taking up a bill that could provide an unconventional therapy to Texas families. Kaitlyn's law is aimed at providing hippotherapy, which is an equestrian therapy for families with disabled children.

Congressman Louie Gohmert visited Windridge Therapeutic Equestrian Center in Diana today. While the findings on the therapy's effectiveness have not been published yet, Windridge workers say the therapy has been very successful.  For 25 years, Windridge has helped children with physical disabilities through its unique hippotherapy and workers there swear by it. However, insurance companies will not cover it.

"The benefits we see the most are head and body stability, balance, muscle tone," says Windridge physical therapist Celia Bower.

"I can see how it's extraordinarily more helpful for a child that needs muscle control that doesn't have any to be on a horse with all the different movements," Gohmert says.   

Proposed legislation is called 'Kaitlyn's law,' named after Kaitlyn Samuels, the daughter of a retired navy captain, who benefited from hippotherapy.   But the Samuels were denied reimbursement from the military's health care system.  

"Clearly in that case, it made a difference for Kaitlyn," says Gohmert. 

The therapy was deemed unproven. But that assessment is contested by Windridge.

"There is that human interaction, that bond. That really sparks something in people," Bower says.

"It makes sense now that I've seen it. Its just a matter of getting the documentation," Gohmert says.   

That documentation has been compiled by a research team using state-of-the-art neurosensors showing the muscle use and memory of riders. HR 1705, titled the 'rehabilitative therapy parity for military beneficiaries act,' will most likely come to a house vote after the Windridge research findings are published.

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