University Presentation Showcase: Undergraduate Division

Project Title

Examining the Benefits of Therapeutic Riding for Veterans

Presenter Information

Emilee A. RaylsFollow

Presenter Hometown

Vine Grove, KY

Major

Recreation and Park Administration

Department

Recreation and Park Administration

Degree

Undergraduate

Mentor

Dr. Jon McChesney

Mentor Department

Recreation and Park Administration

Abstract

Therapeutic Riding is an equine-assisted activity for the purpose of contributing positively to the cognitive, physical, emotional and social well-being of individuals with special needs. It provides benefits in the areas of health, education, sport and recreation & leisure. Therapeutic Riding for veterans not only has benefits mentally with post traumatic stress disorder but, it can also help them with physical disabilities they have received in the line of duty. In 2016 a study was conducted with 1.1 million veterans who were treated in a VA (veteran affairs) Patient Aligned Care Team and were diagnosed with at least one of five mental illnesses including depression, PTSD, substance use disorder, anxiety, schizophrenia and/or bipolar (U.S Department of Veteran Affairs). This study found 1.7 million veterans required treatment from the Veteran Affairs mental health speciality program. Worldwide there are now more than 600 equine assisted therapy programs designed for patients with a broad range of psychological and physical conditions (Romaniuk, Evans, Kidd 2018). People in the military took an oath to protect their country against threats foreign and domestic but when their service is done many have been documented to have mental and physical disabilities that emerged from being active duty. They protect and care for the country so it is our duty to protect and care for them, as they did for us. This research included a qualitative component consisting of an interview with a therapeutic riding professional Cheryl Martin. Martin stated, “I witnessed a veteran patient who had multiple therapeutic riding sessions that were recommended because he became a war-paraplegic, and made considerable progress with our program. After a session the veteran asked for them to hold him on both sides and when he became weightless, he began to move one foot in front of another.” This veteran is one of many examples of the benefits therapeutic riding has on patients of all military personnel backgrounds.

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Poster

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Examining the Benefits of Therapeutic Riding for Veterans

Therapeutic Riding is an equine-assisted activity for the purpose of contributing positively to the cognitive, physical, emotional and social well-being of individuals with special needs. It provides benefits in the areas of health, education, sport and recreation & leisure. Therapeutic Riding for veterans not only has benefits mentally with post traumatic stress disorder but, it can also help them with physical disabilities they have received in the line of duty. In 2016 a study was conducted with 1.1 million veterans who were treated in a VA (veteran affairs) Patient Aligned Care Team and were diagnosed with at least one of five mental illnesses including depression, PTSD, substance use disorder, anxiety, schizophrenia and/or bipolar (U.S Department of Veteran Affairs). This study found 1.7 million veterans required treatment from the Veteran Affairs mental health speciality program. Worldwide there are now more than 600 equine assisted therapy programs designed for patients with a broad range of psychological and physical conditions (Romaniuk, Evans, Kidd 2018). People in the military took an oath to protect their country against threats foreign and domestic but when their service is done many have been documented to have mental and physical disabilities that emerged from being active duty. They protect and care for the country so it is our duty to protect and care for them, as they did for us. This research included a qualitative component consisting of an interview with a therapeutic riding professional Cheryl Martin. Martin stated, “I witnessed a veteran patient who had multiple therapeutic riding sessions that were recommended because he became a war-paraplegic, and made considerable progress with our program. After a session the veteran asked for them to hold him on both sides and when he became weightless, he began to move one foot in front of another.” This veteran is one of many examples of the benefits therapeutic riding has on patients of all military personnel backgrounds.