Articulation and Phonology, Equine Assisted Therapy, Expressive Language, Hippotherapy, Pragmatic Language and Social Skills, Receptive Language, Speech and Language Development, Speech and Language Therapy, Speech Language Pathology in Motion

Creating Speech and Language Opportunities in Hippotherapy: St. Patrick’s Day Theme

This blog post is following a day of fun and exciting speech and language therapy sessions at the barn, incorporating hippotherapy.  The leprechauns were at the farm bright and early to create some fun speech and language activities for our patients on St. Patrick’s Day!  Boy did these activities get our clients talking!

Creating a hunt for shamrocks and sensory based activities was easy and fun.   There were many opportunities for speech and language practice and everyone including the staff and horses had a great time.

When doing activities such as these be sure to expose the horses to them before hand so they know what to expect!

Take a look at our St. Patrick’s Day speech and Language activities:

Shamrocks were placed around our sensory integration track which surrounds our 8 acre property.  Next to each shamrock there was a picture. Goals targeted: increasing vocabulary, increasing articulation skills, responding to yes/no questions, following directions, responding to “wh” questions, attending and following directions (when you see a shamrock tell your horse to stop), requesting help, and more!
Pictures next to the shamrocks were used to address a variety of speech and language goals including vocabulary, responding to questions (i.e. Is this coat for a boy?, Where can you buy a coat?, When do you wear a coat?, Why do you wear a coat?, is the coat next to or above the shamrock?), using attributes and description words (pink, soft, small, warm), and improving articulation.
Pictures next to the shamrocks used to address a variety of speech and language goals including vocabulary, responding to questions, using attributes and description words, and improving articulation.
Some of the shamrocks had toys attached to them. This toy was a type of view finder with different pictures inside. Goals targeted: Requesting help, vocabulary, asking and answering questions. Patients had to use language to ask someone to help them get the toy.
Find the hidden pictures! The pictures were hidden in a bin filled with split peas. Pictures were used to work on vocabulary goals, responding to and asking yes/no and “wh” questions and to work on the negation concept “not”. After they were found, the pictures were sorted into buckets for “green” and “not green”.
“Green” and “Not Green” buckets for sorting activity above.


Shaving Cream and green paint in a zip-lock bag.  Stickers were placed inside the bag.  Patients had to move the shaving cream around to find the hidden pictures.  They were asked to label and talk about what they saw.   Goals: articulation, vocabulary, using attributes, joint attention, gaining attention, requesting help. *Tip- if you have patients who will open the bag, seal it with tape!
This sensory bin contained rice, beans, macaroni, big and small gold coins and 1 lucky shamrock. The tricky leprechauns hid a snake in here too! Goals targeted: Size concepts big and small, counting with 1:1 correspondence, following directions.
Hidden in the shaving cream: gold coins, plastic bugs, a shamrock. This station was used to increase vocabulary, increase use of attributes, work on answering and asking yes/no and “wh” questions, and following directions.
The shaving cream station was messy but fun! Baby wipes and a bin to put garbage in was set up to minimize the mess! This was a favorite stop for many of the kids.
The last shamrock at the end of the trail. Patients got to choose a sticker and take a foam Shamrock home with them from inside the mailbox, but first they had to use their language to request help opening the mailbox and to choose a sticker! Goals targeted: vocabulary, gaining another person’s attention, requesting help.
Sometimes messy is fun!
The members of the hippotherapy team, including the horse dressed for the occasion, creating additional speech and language opportunities.  Everyone had a great time!

To see more pictures and to see some of our patients enjoying the activities take a look at our Facebook page!

Speech Language Pathology in Motion is a private practice located in Hauppauge and Islandia NY.  Visit our website to learn more about us:

Tina is the owner of Speech Language Pathology in Motion, a private practice on Long Island, NY. Her continuing education has included training in numerous speech language pathology treatment techniques including animal assisted therapy, Hippotherapy, PROMPT, DIRFloortime, The SOS Approach to Feeding, NDT, LAMP, and TEACCH. Tina has been recognized as a board certified hippotherapy clinical specialist (HPCS) since 2011 and is one of only ten SLPs in the United States to hold this credential.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn YouTube 

© 2012 – 2017, Tina M. Rocco, M.A. CCC-SLP, HPCS. All rights reserved.

3 thoughts on “Creating Speech and Language Opportunities in Hippotherapy: St. Patrick’s Day Theme

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *