Partnering with Horses in the Research

October 17, 2008

Recently we were sent this comment regarding the Washington University research funded by HHRF: 

The design did not include equines but rather a proxy. My thought would be to replicate the study including horses, knowing full well the difficulties inherent in such work.

One of the most unique aspects of their research is that the students were tested in the beginning and the end on a mechanical horse.  As the mechanical horse simulated a three dimensional movement the students postural response was captured by multiple video cameras that analyzed the reactions through computer technology.
In between the two assessments (the mechanical horse gave an identical “ride” for both assessments – something we can NOT duplicate in the ring on a live horse) – each student participated in 12 hippotherapy sessions on real horses at various programs.  
Those variables did NOT matter because the end results were so clear –  the students impressively increased head and trunk stability.  And these improvements are statistically validated.  
To read the results of the Washington University study, click here.

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