Abstract

Horses have long been utilized by man. Previously their usage ranged from transportation to farming to war. Today’s horse is used for companionship, sport, and more recently for therapeutic purposes. However throughout both eras, there has always been a deep connection between horses and rider. This age-long relationship is built on the foundations of trust and communication through body language. An alarmingly high number of veterans are returning home from war coping with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This study’s purpose is to examine the relationship between veterans coping with PTSD and horses through Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT). Can horses be used to treat symptoms of PTSD in hopes to better reintegrate veterans into society? After a literature review for background information on horses, PTSD, and EAAT, a veteran was interviewed to assess any connection between horses & coping strategies. Several themes were discovered, including the unconditional acceptance of the horse, the team formed between horse and veteran, and the occupation of caring for the horse providing a purpose to veterans.

Semester/Year of Award

Fall 12-7-2016

Mentor

Kathy Splinter-Watkins

Department/Professional Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Department

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

IRB Approval Number (if applicable)

000399

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