Date of Award

Spring 4-6-2017



First Advisor

Dr. Anne Barnfield


This observational study examined the effect of therapeutic riding (TR) on four domains, physical skills, positive values, social skills, and self-identity in children with special needs. Participants were recruited from SARI Therapeutic Riding and were divided, based on observation, into more or less severe diagnosis categories. It was predicted that children with less severe diagnosis would show more of an increase on the four domains, especially physical skills due to TR. Participants were observed using an observational checklist at pre- and post-riding lessons. Results showed non-significant differences in all four domains, however, there was a tendency for scores to increase from pre- to post-observations. Furthermore, statistically significant overall effects were found between sessions, for diagnoses, in all four domains, p < .006. It can be concluded that TR has some beneficial effects on the positive values, social skills, self-identity, and physical skills of children with special needs, although not significant.