A Systematic Review of the Efficacy of Equine Assisted Interventions on Psychological Outcomes

Three studies examined the benefits of an equine intervention for youth identified as being ‘atrisk’. Burgon (2011) used qualitative interviews to examine the experience of a therapeutic horsemanship program among a sample of at-risk adolescents (n = 7). The participants described increases in self-esteem, self-confidence and empathy as a result of the intervention. In this study, participants engaged in a range of equine-assisted activities (e.g. spending time with horses,
observing and discussing horse behavior and psychology, riding and horsemanship activities) across a two year period, and for varying levels of time depending on their commitment to the program. The findings of Burgon (2011) indicate that equine-assisted activities may be perceived as a beneficial intervention for at-risk youth, even without a great deal of psychotherapeutic content.

Source: Elizabeth Kendall, Annick Maujean, Christopher A. Pepping, Martin Downes, Ali Lakhani, Jason Byrne & Kym Macfarlane (2015) A systematic review of the efficacy of equine assisted interventions on psychological outcomes, European Journal of Psychotherapy & Counseling, 17:1, 57-79, DOI