Press Release: Research Results, Effects of Therapeutic Riding on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

For Immediate Release

Contact: Ken Boyden, JD, EdD, Executive Director, Horses and Humans Research Foundation

Date: February 1, 2018

PO Box 23367

Chagrin Falls, OH 44022




Research Results: Effects of Therapeutic Riding on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)


Chagrin Falls, OH.  February 1, 2018. A quantitative paper with findings from a research study funded by the Horses and Humans Research Foundation (HHRF) 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 activity’s positive impact for participants in hundreds of centers across the country.


Large numbers of post-deployment U.S. veterans are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or traumatic brain injury (TBI), leading to an urgent need for effective interventions to reduce symptoms and increase veterans’ coping. PTSD includes anxiety, flashbacks, and emotional numbing. The symptoms increase health care costs for stress-related illnesses and can make veterans’ civilian life difficult.


Dr. Rebecca Johnson, principle 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 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.




Mission: Through sustained investment in rigorous research, HHRF serves as a catalyst to advance global knowledge of horse-human interactions and their impact on health and wellness.


Horses and Humans Research Foundation (HHRF) is dedicated to funding research to investigate the equine-assisted activities and therapies field. Since its founding, HHRF has awarded over $460,000 in professional research efforts led by twelve research teams in the United States, Canada and Germany. HHRF is a non-endowed foundation dependent solely on donations. To make a donation and/or learn more about this and other Horses and Humans Research Foundation projects visit





janet w.