, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 121-126
Date: 21 Oct 2011

Therapeutic Horseback Riding for ACT Patients with Schizophrenia

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One form of psychiatric leisure rehabilitation which has only recently been explored for individuals with schizophrenia is Therapeutic Horseback Riding (THBR). This study is the first to examine THBR for Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) patients with schizophrenia. A sample of 6 ACT patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder who reside in the community and 6 mental health care staff participated in 10 weeks of weekly horseback riding sessions with an experienced THBR instructor. Participating patients, staff and the THBR instructor were qualitatively interviewed at the start, during and at the end of the THBR program and these semi-structured interviews were analyzed for recurrent themes. We found that THBR benefitted this group of patients. In spite of our study’s limitations, such as its exploratory nature and the small sample size, it demonstrates that THBR has promise and should be further developed and studied for individuals with schizophrenia.