Date of Award


Document Type

Oral Presentation/Poster

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Health Science

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Allison Naber, OTD, OTR/L, CLT-LANA


adaptive riding, social health, emotional health, family health, developmental disabilities

Subject Categories

Occupational Therapy


Background: Currently, in the United States, one in six children has a developmental disability (CDC, 2022). According to the US Department of Health and Human Services (2021), developmental disabilities negatively influence an individual's ability to solve problems, social skills, life skills, ability to form relationships, and ability to learn. Equine-assisted services are a group of services, including hippotherapy and adaptive riding, which have been shown to have a positive impact on physical, emotional, and social deficits (Haig & Skinner, 2022; Helmer et al., 2021; Madigand et al., 2023; Zoccante et al., 2021). Methods: The capstone was completed in two steps. First, the capstone student observed and participated in hippotherapy sessions offered by physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech pathologists to children 0-18. Finally, parents of children in adaptive riding were interviewed by the capstone student to complete a research study exploring the role adaptive riding has on their child's health. Results: To detail my experiences learning about hippotherapy, I created schematics breaking down the diagnoses, supplies, interventions, and assessments used during hippotherapy and posted to CommmunOT on occupational therapists' role in adaptive riding compared to other professions. Additionally, a submission-ready manuscript detailing the research study was created and edited. Discussion: The outcomes of goal one will be used to help clarify all of the components of implementing hippotherapy. The research study details the parent's perspective on adaptive riding and will be used to expand the current knowledge adaptive riding. Conclusion: Adaptive riding and hippotherapy are great alternative treatments for people with varying disabilities. The unique qualities of horses can positively improve a child’s social, family, and emotional health.