The Effects of Therapeutic Horseback Riding on Balance


  • Susan Keel Anderson Blue Ridge Vista Health & Wellness
  • David P. Loy East Carolina University
  • Megan C. Janke East Carolina University
  • Clifton E. Watts East Carolina University



Balance, disability, recreational therapy, therapeutic horseback riding


The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of therapeutic horseback riding (THR) as an interven-tion to improve the balance of 30 individuals who par-ticipated in a Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH INTL) therapeutic riding member program. The study lasted 10 weeks, with each participant receiving the intervention once a week for thirty minutes. The therapeutic riding program in-cluded several standard components in each session to challenge the balance of riders with disabilities. A quasi-experimental one-group pre-test-post-test design was used to examine the effects of THR for a single session, short-term 10-week period, and sustained effects after the program ended. The Multi-Directional Reach Test (MDRT; Newton, 2001) was used to quantify balance during the study. Paired t-tests were conducted to exam-ine a relationship between THR and balance outcomes. Recreational therapy applications and research implica-tions are also discussed. Subscribe to TRJ

Author Biographies

Susan Keel Anderson, Blue Ridge Vista Health & Wellness

Director of Quality and Risk Management, Blue Ridge Vista Health and Wellness, Covington, Kentucky.

David P. Loy, East Carolina University

Department of Recreation and Leisure StudiesAssociate Professor of Recreational TherapyAssociate Dean-College of Health & Human Performance

Megan C. Janke, East Carolina University

Department of Recreation and Leisure StudiesAssociate Professor-Recreational Therapy

Clifton E. Watts, East Carolina University

Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies Associate Professor-Recreation Management