Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2017

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School



Biological Sciences

Program or Major

Equine Studies: Equine Science

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

First Advisor

Christina Keim


Equine assisted activities and therapies (EAATs) are becoming an increasingly popular approach for therapy, therapeutic recreation, and learning for a broad range of human clients and participants. In the EAAT field, most research has been human-centric, focusing primarily on benefits of EAATs for participants and clients. Relatively little research has been conducted on the effects of EAATs on equine stress and welfare for equines engaged in EAAT sessions.

The effects of equine assisted activities and therapies on equine stress and welfare were studied by way of exploring current EAAT professionals’ experiences and views related to equine stress and welfare in equines engaged in EAATs. Data collection took place in the format of both surveys and interviews. 59 completed surveys and 8 interviews were used to evaluate industry professionals’ opinions on current topics related to equine welfare in EAATs. Both the surveys and the interviews explored indviduals’ credentials in the field, knowledge of equine behavior and opinion related to other EAAT-involved individuals’ levels of equine behavior knowledge, personal experience related to equine welfare during sessions, experience measuring stress in equines in EAATs, and opinion related to EAAT regulations and welfare concerns.

Results of both areas of the study ranged extensively. Further research and analyzation is warranted in order for the EAAT field to take informed action to increase awareness and thus improve equine welfare for equines engaged in EAATs.