With the field of equine-assisted therapy growing, a new study will investigate the impact of related programs on the welfare of the horse.
Dr. Katrina Merkies, a Associate Professor of Animal Biosciences at the University of Guelph, has received a $10,000 grant from the Horses and Humans Research Foundation to conduct a study this spring focusing on the welfare of therapy horses that assist people with post traumatic stress disorder, according to an article by the Guelph Mercury.
The study will be conducted at Sunrise Therapeutic Riding & Learning Centre and will examine whether therapy horses respond to the emotions or the actions of patients.
"There's a belief that somehow the horse bonds with the human and can intuit what the human needs," Merkies was quoted as saying in the article. "That's nice to believe and we want it to be true. But how do we know this? Can we determine if the horse responds to the movements or the emotional needs? If we can, it could lay the ground work for other studies."
To read the Guelph Mercury article in its entirety, click here.
(With files from the Guelph Mercury)