Publication News: Effects of Therapeutic Riding on PTSD

Photo courtesy MU CVM and ReCHAI

Photo courtesy MU CVM and ReCHAI

A quantitative paper with findings from a research study funded by the Horses and Humans Research Foundation was recently published in the Military Medical Research Journal.  “Effects of therapeutic horseback riding on military veteran’s posttraumatic stress disorder”  is another important step toward validating equine-assisted activities's positive impact for participants in hundreds of centers across the country.

Dr. Rebecca Johnson, principal investigator, used randomized wait-list control with repeated measures of U.S. military veterans to test the efficacy of a 6-week therapeutic horseback riding (THR) program for decreasing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.  PTSD symptoms were measured using the standardized PTSD Checklist-Military Version and three other standardized tests were also used to access different aspects of individual well-being and the PTSD symptoms.

Results showed that participants had a statistically significant decrease in PTSD scores after 3 weeks of THR as well as a statistically and clinically significant decrease after 6 weeks of THR. Logistic regression showed that participants had a 66.7% likelihood of having lower PTSD scores at 3 weeks and 87.5% likelihood at 6 weeks.

It is no surprise to professional therapeutic riding instructors and center participants that the findings clearly suggest that THR may be a clinically effective intervention for alleviating PTSD symptoms in military veterans.  This is particularly important as we urgently seek alternative methods to support our veterans in need.

Read the paper.