Equine Assisted Activities or Therapy: Towards a Future Curriculum

PhD Thesis

Shkedi, Anita 2015. Equine Assisted Activities or Therapy: Towards a Future Curriculum. PhD Thesis https://doi.org/10.48773/94700
AuthorsShkedi, Anita
TypePhD Thesis

Equine Assisted Activities and Therapy (EAA/T) is a non-invasive treatment modality recommended by the medical and educational community for a subset of challenged children and adults. As its popularity increases, so too are the concerns among stakeholders and the medical and educational professions about its legitimacy as a treatment modality. The main concern being that EAA/T practitioners have not acquired the professional skills required and that the EAA/T treatment programmes are not evidence-based. The central question of this research focused on identifying Equine Assisted Activities and or Therapy (EAA/T) and creating an optimal learning curricula and more practical experience for future practitioners. In order to explore these issues an extensive multi-method research study was conducted to identify gaps in EAA/T curricula, which included a review of empirical data and different curriculum models. The Delphi Method (DM), a robust, qualitative, naturalistic, systematic and interactive research method was used to support the research. Part of the DM required an analysis of data, adaptation of issues and amendments to questions culminating in a collective consensus among EAA/T experts. The key research findings suggested that current training programmes use curricula with significant gaps resulting in poor professional knowledge formation, a lack of experiential learning, insufficient knowledge of equestrianism and an inability to use pedagogic paradigms. Other findings showed that curricula being used were not being built as an application of sound theoretical principles but rather, transmitted in a manner that does not motivate active and meaningful learning or promote the best practical experience. As a consequence, national organisations and academies dedicated to EAA/T training sidestep high standards and core values for the sake of membership and financial gain. This rigorous research study has highlighted gaps in current training practices and has made it possible to make recommendations for a future curriculum. Recommendations that suggest the future curriculum is built on sound theoretical principles developing foundation knowledge to operate EAA/T in all fields of practice. This could set new quality and performance benchmarks and provides EAA/T practitioners with adequate tools to connect best practices to people with real-life challenges.

KeywordsTherapeutic education; therapeutic riding; equine assisted therapy; equine curriculum
PublisherUniversity of Derby
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.48773/94700
Web address (URL)hdl:10545/621346
File Access Level
File Access Level
Output statusUnpublished
Publication process dates
Deposited07 Feb 2017, 09:05
Publication datesOct 2015
ContributorsUniversity of Derby, College of Education
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