An Un-mounted Horse Care Group for Children and Youth with an Autism Spectrum Disorder: Recommendations for Program Development and Treatment Intervention


Jo Vendl

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Capstone Project

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Professional Psychology


Equine assisted activities and therapies, Treatment manual, Program evaluation, Adolescents, Children, Autism spectrum disorders


Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) including Therapeutic Horseback Riding (THR) and un-mounted equine assisted activities are interventions aimed at improving the daily functioning and success of individuals with disabilities, including those with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). While THR is frequently utilized as a treatment intervention for children with ASD, there are many limitations (individual's weight, horse health, weather, physical limitations, health conditions, etc.) that prevent this population from participating in mounted programs. Un-mounted equine assisted activities are often utilized as an alternative, but they are not informed by empirical research or a standardized treatment model. This paper provides a comprehensive review of the literature for EAAT including un-mounted programs, examination of organizational guidelines as they apply to un-mounted programs, and consultation with program directors regarding current practices in the field, and finally it establishes recommendations for the development of a standard curriculum that would strengthen un-mounted horse care group programs serving children with ASD.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.

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