Date of Award

2017

First Advisor

Anne O'Dwyer

Second Advisor

Eden-Renee Hayes

Abstract

While animal-assisted therapy has been around for a while, research with equine-assisted therapy is somewhat limited. In an attempt to supplement the gap in knowledge, my thesis will explore the relationship between two different kinds of horse therapies, therapeutic horseback riding and hippotherapy, with two different disabilities, cerebral palsy and generalized anxiety disorder. Both therapies were explored using an occupational therapy framework. Cerebral palsy and generalized anxiety disorder were selected for the disabilities as one is a physical disorder while one is a mental disorder, respectively. A study was designed using riders at a therapeutic riding stable, Blue Rider Stables. Interviews were used in order to have a better understanding of each individual’s experience with horses and their impact. While the study initially accounted for both cerebral palsy and generalized anxiety disorder, participants with cerebral palsy were not able to complete the interview.

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