Research

child hugging a horse standing in a field

Many of us have seen heartwarming stories and anecdotes in the media or heard personal stories from family and friends of the benefits of interacting with horses. A frequent question involves the scientific merit of having horses involved in mental health services and how they might improve the quality of life of those involved.

The following is a sampling of studies that help illustrate the benefit of incorporating horses into mental health treatment and other wellness services. It is not meant to represent a comprehensive literature review or specific search parameters. Rather, the intent is to provide a sample of peer-reviewed published journal articles to assist those interested in learning more about the topic and to support services incorporating horses for mental health and well-being

Willmund, G., et al. (2021). Equine-assisted psychotherapy with traumatized couples-Improvement of relationship quality and psychological symptoms Marital Fam Ther47, 925-944 doi:10.1111/jmft.12485. Equine-assisted psychotherapy with traumatized couples-Improvement of relationship quality and psychological symptoms – PubMed (nih.gov)

 

Chakales, P. A., J. Locklear, T. Wharton (2020). Medicine and Horsemanship: The Effects of Equine-assisted Activities and Therapies on Stress and Depression in Medical Students. Medicine and Horsemanship: The Effects of Equine-assisted Activities and Therapies on Stress and Depression in Medical Students – PubMed (nih.gov)

 

Lee, K., H. Dabelko-Schoeny, H. Jedlicka, T. Burns (2020). Older Adults’ Perceived Benefits of Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy: Implications for Social Work. Research on social work Older Adults’ Perceived Benefits of Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy: Implications for Social Work – Kathy Lee, Holly Dabelko-Schoeny, Holly Jedlicka, Teresa Burns, 2020 (sagepub.com)

 

Johnson, R. A., et al. (2018). Effects of therapeutic horseback riding on post-traumatic stress disorder in military veterans.Mil Med Res5, 3 doi:10.1186/s40779-018-0149-6. Effects of therapeutic horseback riding on post-traumatic stress disorder in military veterans – PubMed (nih.gov)

 

Steele, E., D. S. Wood, E. J Usadi, D. M. Applegarth (2018). TRR’s Warrior Camp: An Intensive Treatment Program for Combat Trauma in Active Military and Veterans of All Eras.Militarymedicine183, 403-407 doi:10.1093/milmed/usx153 TRR’s Warrior Camp: An Intensive Treatment Program for Combat Trauma in Active Military and Veterans of All Eras – PubMed (nih.gov)