The Influence of Equine-assisted Interventions: A Case Study
Equine-assisted interventions (EAIs) were used to develop physical, social, and emotional skills in participants. The problem was the influence EAIs had on individuals with social or emotional deficits was unknown from the perspective of parents and instructors. The gap in the literature was previous studies lack feedback from the parents and instructors. Contingency leadership theory and biophilia theory framed the study. Research questions asked parents of children participating in EAI and instructors to describe experiences with EAI sessions. Questions were used to explore how parents and instructors perceived the influence and meaning of equine-assisted interventions on the social and emotional health of the clients at three therapeutic equine centers in Connecticut. The purpose of the qualitative, multiple case study was to explore the influence EAIs had on individuals with social or emotional deficits from the perspective of parents and instructors at three therapeutic riding centers in Connecticut. The target population for the multiple case study included EAI instructors and parents of individuals with social or emotional deficits who participate in EAIs in the state of Connecticut. Selection criteria included parents of children who utilized five or more equine-assisted intervention sessions in response to social or emotional deficits and the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) certified instructors. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews and open-ended questionnaires. Emergent coding was used for data analysis. The findings of the study indicated equine-assisted interventions positively influenced the social and emotional skills of participants.