What is Hippocampus?

Hippocampus was founded by Ute Patrick, a veteran occupational therapist with extensive training and experience in the field of hippotherapy and animal-assisted therapy. Currently Hippocampus is hosted by Southern Vermont Therapeutic Riding Center in the beautiful town of Wilmington, Vermont. The program works with experienced equine handlers and trained horses to ensure safety. Click here to learn more about SVTRC.

Ute Patrick OTR/L

Ute graduated with a degree in occupational therapy from the Timmermeister Schule in Münster, Germany and the Hogeschool Zuyd in Heerlen, Netherlands. She studied animal-assisted therapy as a treatment method in occupational therapy in depth, with a focus on equine assisted interventions. She obtained certifications with PAN.inc and PATH international and she is also a AHA level II hippotherapy provider. Ute has worked in various pediatric settings which incorporated animal-assisted therapy and nature based programs, such as Green Chimneys School in Brewster, NY and Risthof Therapie in Immenstadt, Germany. She taught occupational therapy students in Germany and she presented internationally on various topics pertaining to equine assisted therapy. Ute has published her research thesis as well as a peer reviewed article in the international magazine “Mensch und Pferd”. Ute currently lives and works in southern Vermont, providing occupational therapy services to local school children and implementing equine assisted therapy in her private practice Hippocampus at SVTRC in Wilmington.

Our Mission

Hippocampus provides occupational therapy services for clients across the lifespan in a nature-based setting. An individualized plan of care utilizes innovative and evidence-based therapeutic interventions in a safe and inclusive environment that promotes well-being and fosters holistic development.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy offers services to improve independence and participation in everyday activities to clients across the life span. When you meet with your occupational therapist an initial evaluation will take place, where all areas of daily life will be discussed with you and sometimes with your family or caregiver. An evaluation will consist of intake interview, clinical observations as well as selected standardized assessments. The main focus of the evaluation process is to find out what is important to you. This information will help guide you and your therapist to create a plan of care that best suits your needs. Goals and progress will be reviewed regularly and is an integral part of the treatment process. It is your journey and our team is here to support you in their capacity. To learn more about how services at Hippocampus may look like for you, research our section ‘who do we serve’ on this website. To find out more about occupational therapy in general click here.


The term hippotherapy refers to how occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech-language pathology professionals use evidence-based practice and clinical reasoning in the purposeful manipulation of equine movement to engage sensory, neuromotor, and cognitive systems to achieve functional outcomes. In conjunction with the affordances of the equine environment and other treatment strategies, hippotherapy is part of a patient’s integrated plan of care. (AHA inc.)

The horse is the corner stone of our equine assisted occupational therapy intervention. As a team, you and your therapist, along with equine handler, will determine if and how a horse can benefit you. Ground-work, human-animal interactions and mounted activities all provide great benefits and can be incorporated into your plan of care.

Animal Assisted Therapy

Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) is a goal oriented, planned and structured therapeutic intervention directed and/or delivered by health, education and human service professionals. Intervention progress is measured and included in professional documentation. AAT is delivered and/or directed by a formally trained (with active licensure, degree or equivalent) professional with expertise within the scope of the professionals’ practice. AAT focuses on enhancing physical, cognitive, behavioral and/or socio-emotional functioning of the particular human client. (IAHAIO click here to learn more).


Learn More About Us

UTE PATRICKOccupational Therapist
A veteran occupational therapist with extensive training and experience in the field of hippotherapy and animal-assisted therapy.
THE HORSESTherapy Horses
Our therapy horses are picked for their temperament and are specifically trained for their unique role within therapy sessions.
SVTRCPATH Int'l. Center Member
The Southern Vermont Therapeutic Riding Center is located right off of Route 100, 3.7 miles from the center of Wilmington, VT.



Whether you have a question or can’t wait to tell us how much you’ve benefited from hippotherapy, we’d love to hear from you! We typically reply within one business day.