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K. Peters, L. Reimers, R. Naidoo, T. Sookan & A. J. McKune, Z. Nqwena
2014
Therapeutic Riding
Aim: The aim of this study was to determine the acute effects of a therapeutic horseback riding session (THR) on...
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Aim: The aim of this study was to determine the acute effects of a therapeutic horseback riding session (THR) on heart rate variability in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Methods: Heart rate variability time and frequency domain parameters were measured in five participants (6-17 years) with ASD. The heart rate variability parameters calculated were time domain: mean heart rate, inter-beat intervals and root mean squared differences of the standard deviation (RMSSD) and frequency domain: high frequency, low frequency and low frequency to high frequency ratio. Heart rate variability was recorded pre, during and post a 15-25 min THR session. These time point measurements were then compared using one way ANOVA with Tukey post hoc testing. Significance was set at p < 0.05. Results: Despite no significant changes observed in heart rate or inter-beat intervals, an increase in RMSSD was observed post-THR (p = 0.02). Low frequency (p = 0.0006) and high frequency (p = 0.0001) parameters were significantly increased post versus pre and during THR, which suggested an increased activation of the autonomic nervous system. The post-THR low frequency to high frequency ratio was significantly reduced (p = 0.04) indicating elevated parasympathetic activity after THR compared to pre-THR values. Conclusion: There is no conclusive evidence showing that participants with ASD demonstrate increased parasympathetic activity acutely after a session of THR. However, positively, the study suggests that it is possible to measure HRV in children with ASD in relation to THR.
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C. Page
2014
Learning and Psychoeducation
This quantitative exploratory study examined how therapeutic riding affects the emotional and social behaviors and symptoms of children aged 5...
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This quantitative exploratory study examined how therapeutic riding affects the emotional and social behaviors and symptoms of children aged 5 to 12, diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Parents of participants in the intervention group (n = 8) and comparison group (n = 5) completed pre- and post-intervention questionnaires. Participants in the intervention group received 15 weeks of continuous therapeutic riding, which consisted of one 30-minute session per week. Comparison group participants received a multidisciplinary educational approach. The guiding research question was: Does therapeutic riding have a beneficial effect on the social and emotional lives of children with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, as assessed by the Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ), the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS), and the Sensory Profile (SP)? Results revealed statistically significant positive changes pretest-posttest for the intervention group in social and emotional functioning in the forms of increased social communication, social interactions, reciprocal social skills, communication skills, and multisensory integration in social situations; and a decrease in autistic mannerisms, restricted and repetitive behaviors. Results for the comparison group also showed a significant increase in social and emotional coping strategies and a decrease in sensory-seeking behaviors to self-stimulate. The preliminary results from this study support evidence in the field that therapeutic riding can be an efficacious treatment for children with autism spectrum disorder. Due to the exploratory nature of this study, further studies are needed to evaluate the specific therapeutic effects of therapeutic riding has for children with autism.
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A. Carey, S. Murray &amp; A. Barnfield
2012/2013
Mental Health
In this paper we present two studies which investigated the psychological benefits of therapeutic riding (TR) for children, primarily those...
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In this paper we present two studies which investigated the psychological benefits of therapeutic riding (TR) for children, primarily those with disabilities. The studies were run during two TR programs: Study 1, TR delivered in a summer camp; and Study 2, once- weekly TR sessions across two 10-week courses. All participants were tested at SARI Therapeutic Riding (SARI), London, Ontario, Canada. Survey methodology was employed, using standardized, validated questionnaires developed by the American Camp Association to make within-subjects comparisons. Data was collected at pre-camp/TR course, post-camp/TR course and follow-up time points; obtained from parent and child questionnaires, from researcher observation checklists, and through semi-structured interviews with the parents of children who attended summer camp. On all measures the participants of the camp demonstrated statistically significant gains between pre- and post-camp with respect to the domains of positive identity, social skills, physical skills, and positive values (all at p<.01 level). For weekly riding sessions, results from parent surveys were not statistically significant. Observation checklists completed by the researcher did show positive change in behaviours; one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) comparisons of the domains measured in pre-, mid-, and post-course observations were significant, p<.01.Therefore it appears that TR, delivered in a summer camp or in a 10-week course, can be beneficial to children of all ability levels.
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J. Krężel
2012/2013
Hippotherapy
Hippotherapy, according to the definition used by the Polish Hippotherapy Association, is a form of medical treatment that might improve...
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Hippotherapy, according to the definition used by the Polish Hippotherapy Association, is a form of medical treatment that might improve a patient’s condition in physical, mental and social domains. It is obvious that if hippotherapists want to develop and promote this treatment strategy, some effort should be made to have it accepted and approved by the medical community as a complementary treatment option. For countries like Poland, this effort could help us promote the emergence of the official profession of hippotherapist. Undoubtedly, a reasonable and professional development of this treatment strategy needs to be conducted in accordance with the philosophy of science. Unfortunately, some papers and proceedings on the topic of hippotherapy give the impression that not all therapists share that opinion. While some papers present objective results of studies as well as discussion based on scientific knowledge, others feed us with fairytale speculations decorated with modern physics terminology. This leads to an erroneous increase in the significance of pseudoscientific publications. The goal of this text is to emphasize the difference between a scientific and a pseudo-scientific approach. Several hippotherapy articles are presented as an example of science. As a counter-example, some pseudo-scientific revelations are also introduced. By means of analysis and comparison, the author attempts to show the benefits of an objective, evidence-based evaluation and promotion of hippotherapy, as well as the losses resulting from pseudoscientific or even fictitious digressions. After clear demarcation of the two opposing approaches, the author discusses guidelines pertaining to planning and conducting evidence-based study. It is the results of these studies that may, after statistical analysis, scientifically show whether hippotherapy as a treatment approach is 1) harmless (that is, bringing no danger to the patient/client), and 2) improves the patient’s functioning.
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P. Czarnoleska
2012/2013
Hippotherapy
Postural problems are prevalent due to lifestyle factors. Horseback riding might have the potential to improve the postural configuration of...
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Postural problems are prevalent due to lifestyle factors. Horseback riding might have the potential to improve the postural configuration of individuals, but evidence is sparse. The aim of this study was to investigate the postural differences between horseback riders and sedentary non-riding individuals. In this small-scale study, quantitative and qualitative measurements were used to assess sagital plane, seated posture of a group of 43 individuals (25 females, 18 males) including 23 horseback riders and 20 non-riders. There were no statistical anthropometrical, age, gender or personality differences between riders and non-riders and the confounding factors of psychosocial and socio-economic profile were eliminated. Riders showed significantly better posture in some variables, namely cranio-cervical angle, neck flexion angle, position of shoulder and pelvic tilt. Thus, there is preliminary evidence that horse riding may aid human posture.
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S. Forsling
2011
Mental Health
In the 1980s a Swedish study, “444 Stockholm Youth in Crisis,” identified the special institutional needs and challenges of young...
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In the 1980s a Swedish study, “444 Stockholm Youth in Crisis,” identified the special institutional needs and challenges of young females aged 16 – 21 years. It pointed to the need for change in the prevailing high cost, staff intensive closed unit system with its poor therapeutic outcomes. In response the Frossarbo Therapeutic Model (FTM), based on a psychodynamic therapeutic approach and Milieu Therapy, was carried out and evaluated between 1987 and 1997. This model went against existing practice and focused on the strength of the juveniles instead of on their distress diagnoses. Over the 10 year period 47 girls (6 at a time) came to Frossarbo Stables for an alternative therapy which involved learning about, caring for and training trotting horses in preparation for racing. FTM was evaluated against standard variables established by The General Board of Compulsory Treatment, Stockholm Metropolitan Council. It received top ratings in all variables.
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L. Hallberg
2011
Mental Health
The work of a PATH Intl. task force offers a unique view on the practice of equine-facilitated psychotherapy. The...
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The work of a PATH Intl. task force offers a unique view on the practice of equine-facilitated psychotherapy. The context for this orientation lies embedded within the broader and long-standing approach of PATH Intl. to equine-assisted activities and therapies and to the organization’s general approach to therapeutic work with horses and other equines. This paper outlines the evolution of PATH Intl.’s approach to equine facilitated psychotherapy and summarizes the key elements and requirements of that approach, namely use of practice guidelines, standards, certification and accreditation.
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L. Shambo
2011
Mental Health
The HEAL Model of Equine-Facilitated Psychotherapy and Learning (EFP/L) focuses on bonding with the horse as treatment for...
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The HEAL Model of Equine-Facilitated Psychotherapy and Learning (EFP/L) focuses on bonding with the horse as treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other clinical disorders. The author draws on literature from the fields of neuroscience, attachment and trauma psychology, and animal science to explain the human-horse bond, and how the bond itself helps clients resolve troubled emotional history. Methods are explained including the clinical framework of treatment planning, the facilitator’s focus and responsibilities, and the typical progression of clients through beginning, middle and final stages of therapy. A case vignette and excerpts from qualitative data gathered from clients treated with this model are presented. These support the author’s hypothesis that the bond with the horse enables the client to form new neural pathways in the limbic (i.e. emotional-social) part of the brain.
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L. Thomas
2011
Mental Health
The Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA), established twelve years ago has a unique approach to equine assisted psychotherapy...
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The Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA), established twelve years ago has a unique approach to equine assisted psychotherapy and learning which is based firmly on sound professional principles in horsemanship, psychotherapy and pedagogy. This paper outlines the development and basis of the EAGALA model, and also provides practical examples of its application in practice.
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A. Selby
2011
Mental Health
Equine-facilitated psychotherapy is explored in a historical context to enhance understanding of the treatment approach and as a basis...
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Equine-facilitated psychotherapy is explored in a historical context to enhance understanding of the treatment approach and as a basis for the continued construction of a theoretical framework. An overview of the European and North American history of horsemanship as therapy is presented, and the preeminent professional organizations are identified. Hippotherapy, therapeutic horsemanship, therapeutic riding, and other activities with horses are described as they relate to therapeutic techniques involving equines in the mental health setting. The importance of standardized terminology is emphasized to ensure proper usage, and to promote comprehension and agreement across settings. Some relevant theoretical constructs are suggested, which include animal-assisted therapy, biophilia, myth and metaphor, as well as theories of attachment, neurodevelopment, the therapeutic relationship and exercise; they are identified as important foundational elements of the evolving theoretical underpinnings of this unique form of treatment.
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