Shenandoah University Research

Shenandoah University Research

Research on Equine Assisted Therapies is continually growing causing a surge in the need for Hippotherapy facilities and therapeutic centers capable of conducting equine assisted activities. By conducting on-site research in conjunction with Shenandoah University, Ride-On Ranch is on the forefront of this emerging trend. Research is conducted each year by graduate level Occupational Therapy students focusing on various effects hippotherapy has on a variety of symptoms.

2018 Shenandoah University Research

The Effect of Hippotherapy on Socialization – Apply here 

Begins April 2018

2018 Shenandoah University Research

Research Question: Does engagement in hippotherapy improve postural control and handwriting legibility in children with ASD?

Research Description: The Central Nervous System (CNS) of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder can become disorganized, which can affect their social, emotional, communication, and language functions. Hippotherapy can help a client’s CNS become more organized through its repetitive and rhythmic nature, increasing the effectiveness of these functions.


Spotlight on 2013 Research

2013 – The Effects of Hippotherapy on Motor Performance Skills of Special Olympic Athletes

In the spring of 2013, Shenandoah University students conducted a research project at Ride-On Ranch evaluating the effects of hippotherapy as an occupational therapy modality on the motor performance skills of Special Olympics athletes. Using the Berg Balance Skills, an observation checklist, and other forms of assessments, the therapy students were able to see improvement in the riders after 45-minute hippotherapy sessions. Riders displayed:

  • Increases in verbal and social participation
  • Increases in motor skills
  • Expressions of positive emotion

Findings were presented at the 16th Annual International Congress of the World Federation of Occupational Therapist in Yokohama Japan, June 2014.

Colin Research Project

Steven on Playdoh back

Shenandoah students observe and evaluate a research participants.