Lorain Gilbert-Fontana, PT, MHS


lorain-gilbert-fontana-01Lorain Gilbert-Fontana, PT, MHS, has been an instructor with ATRO since 2004, having been a volunteer for many years prior to getting her certification. She is the owner of Physical Therapy Works in Lafayette, LA and has been a physical therapist for 37 years.

She recently completed course work to add hippotherapy, or equine facilitated therapy, to the services that she offers through Physical Therapy Works.

“I feel that the movement of the horse is an essential ingredient in the motor planning skills that is sometimes lacking in my clients with cerebral palsy. Since the human pelvis and the horse pelvis move in the same planes of motion, in the same approximate degrees, sitting atop a horse is equivalent to walking. It is this motion that gives the rider the missing ingredient. The magic is in the motion and the skill is in the ability to match the rider to the horse. That is the challenge for me, as the therapist. I find, through analysis, the gait pattern of the horse which best provides the movement that is lacking in the rider. This pairing then allows me to give direct input to the rider which will send messages to his or her brain and give them the opportunity to experience what normal movement feels like. “

Lorain enjoys working with riders of all ages and all abilities, although she particularly enjoys working with the younger riders and the riders with physical challenges. The goal of ATRO is for all of the riders to ride to the fullest level of independence and as a physical therapist, Lorain’s goal is for all of the riders with physical challenges to be more able after their riding experience.