Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 39, Issue 9, pp 1261–1267

The Effect of Therapeutic Horseback Riding on Social Functioning in Children with Autism

  • Margaret M. Bass
  • Catherine A. Duchowny
  • Maria M. Llabre
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10803-009-0734-3

Cite this article as:
Bass, M.M., Duchowny, C.A. & Llabre, M.M. J Autism Dev Disord (2009) 39: 1261. doi:10.1007/s10803-009-0734-3

Abstract

This study evaluated the effects of therapeutic horseback riding on social functioning in children with autism. We hypothesized that participants in the experimental condition (n = 19), compared to those on the wait-list control (n = 15), would demonstrate significant improvement in social functioning following a 12-weeks horseback riding intervention. Autistic children exposed to therapeutic horseback riding exhibited greater sensory seeking, sensory sensitivity, social motivation, and less inattention, distractibility, and sedentary behaviors. The results provide evidence that therapeutic horseback riding may be a viable therapeutic option in treating children with autism spectrum disorders.

Keywords

ChildrenAutismTherapeutic horseback ridingSocial functioningEquine assisted activities

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret M. Bass
    • 1
  • Catherine A. Duchowny
    • 2
  • Maria M. Llabre
    • 2
  1. 1.Good Hope Equestrian Training CenterHomesteadUSA
  2. 2.University of MiamiCoral GablesUSA