Hippotherapy (Horse Therapy)


What to Expect

You will begin with an initial evaluation from one of our licensed therapists at our Meridian Physical Therapy location in Puyallup. They will work with your physician to obtain a release to ensure we can provide the safest and most effective treatment for each Hippotherapy patient. After that, all subsequent treatment will be held at the Sundance Circle Hippotherapy in Sumner.

Does insurance cover Hippotherapy?

Yes, most insurances cover Hippotherapy.  We will call and verify your benefits. Unfortunately, DSHS, Medicaid and Molina are not accepted at this time.

Are there any additional fees?

Yes. The Sundance Circle Hippotherapy is an independent facility that charges a fee of $40 per session to provide care for their horses. However, financial assistance is available to those who qualify.

Where is the farm located?

Sundance Circle Hippotherapy is located in Sumner, Washington, located 40 minutes south of Seattle and just 10 minutes from Puyallup.

When are treatments offered?

Physical Therapy evaluations take place Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy evaluations take place Saturday mornings at 8am.  Treatments are offered Wednesday afternoons between 3-6PM and Saturday morning between 9AM-12PM.

Can I help with the treatments?

The farm has trained volunteers to help during the session, so we ask that you view the session from the sidelines.

How old do you have to be?

Minimum age is 3 years old and can be any age beyond that, but the patient must be able to hold themselves upright for the most part.

Is there a weight limit?

Yes, there is a weight limit of 165 pounds. This is a precaution to ensure that we do not endanger the health of our horses.

What conditions does this kind of therapy treat?

Cerebral palsy, autism, Down’s syndrome, ataxia, sensory integration disorder, developmental delay, traumatic brain injury, ADHD, genetic disorders, stroke patients, and many more. Feel free to call the Sundance Circle Hippotherapy at 253-863-0654 if you would like to know if a specific condition would benefit from Hippotherapy.

Do I need a referral?

Yes. You need a referral for PT, OT or speech and an additional signed release from your doctor.  Depending on the condition an additional form or test may be performed to assure the patient can be on the horse.  Your therapist will discuss this with you.

Click here for the release form


Meet the Therapists

John Payne, Hippotherapy Program Director & Physical Therapist
(253) 841-3041
John Payne DPT, OCS

Amanda Saliba, Pediatric Occupational Therapist
(253) 447-8562
Amanda Saliba OT
Wendy King COTA

About Ann Viviano, MS OTR, MA CCC-SLP, HPCS
Occupational and Speech Therapist
Ann is a Meridian occupational therapist as well as a speech therapist with extensive experience in combining occupational therapy and speech pathology. Ann received her Bachelor’s Degree in Occupational Therapy from Colorado State University. She then went on to receive her Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy from Western Michigan University, and in Speech-Language Pathology from University of Northern Colorado. In addition, she had Neurodevelopmental Therapy Training in Pediatrics from the Bobath Centre in London. Ann’s work experience as a pediatric therapist and her love of horses led to her passion for hippotherapy.

Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy from Western Michigan University
Master’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology from University of Northern Colorado
Bachelor’s Degree, Occupational Therapy, Colorado State University

Neurodevelopmental Therapy Training in Pediatrics, Bobath Centre, London
Completed an Equine Science Certificate

About John Payne, DPT, OCS
Physical Therapist

John received his B.S. from Brigham Young University in Exercise Physiology. He then went on to receive a Masters of Physical Therapy at the University of Utah. He moved to Washington where he worked in a private practice in outpatient orthopedics and then returned to the University of Utah a year later to complete a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. John has worked in outpatient orthopedics for 16 years and has a board certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS). He enjoys employing manual therapy skills with exercise and movement to help his patients restore their active life styles. John is a busy father of four and enjoys the outdoors; hiking and camping when he can but most of his time he can be found working on home improvement projects around his house and farm. He also owns and operates a horse boarding facility, where he performs hippotherapy.

Bachelor’s of Science in Exercise Physiology from Brigham Young University
Masters and Doctorate in Physical Therapy from University of Utah

How do I make an appointment?

To make an appointment, contact Meridian Physical Therapy at 253-841-3041.

Participating Clinics

These neighborhood physical therapy clinics provide Hippotherapy (Horse Therapy), click to schedule an appointment or learn more.

Puyallup (Meridian Physical Therapy)

Learn More About Hippotherapy!


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Here’s what some of our patients had to say...

I started PT after a car accident. The staff was extremely helpful not just with injuries from the accident, but also other issues that had been bothering me. They are very good at communicating problems and solutions and are friendly to boot. Can’t recommend enough.

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