This qualitative case study aimed to determine if the formation of an emotional bond between a horse and a child with the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) during a Therapeutic Horseback Riding (TR) lesson is a key component to maximizing therapeutic benefits. Before collecting any data, it was initially hypothesized that this emotional bond was something that had to be established over time in order to be significant and a therapist should aim to use the same horse each time in order to maximize other positive therapeutic outcomes. Resources included in this case study will describe all of the various benefits TR has on children with ASD, and other types of disabilities, as well as describing the challenges children with ASD face everyday. This study surveyed parents/guardians who have a child with the diagnosis of ASD and who have participated in TR at a facility in central Kentucky. The TR facility owner identified six families who met the criteria and who received this questionnaire. Two of six families elected to participate and completed the questionnaire by sending it back to the primary researcher. The qualitative data did not support the formation of an emotional bond between a child with ASD and a specific horse having a direct correlation to other therapeutic benefits due to limitations of this study.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 2018


Leslie J. Hardman

Mentor Professional Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Access Options

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Department Name when Degree Awarded

Occupational Therapy

IRB Approval Number (if applicable)