Münster vom 12. bis 15. August 2009
Definition of determined training objectives for the horses as a key to a high-quality and efficient therapy
A verifiable and specific training for horses used in therapeutic and supportive care for humans in combination with a highly qualified provider has a significant influence on the quality and efficiency of the offered therapy/supportive care.
Pooling of information from literature researches, interviews held with specialists and conclusions from a questionnaire from the basis of a pilot study in my dissertation² on the topic described above.
To begin with, it is important to make an interdisciplinary definition of the areas of application and the requirements for the horses resulting therefrom. These requirements will then be adapted to the natural habits of a horse in order to create a training plan that will meet equine characteristics and human requirements. The final stage will be a standardized performance test where the training results will be tested and certified in an objective, reproducible and demand-oriented way. Though there is a widespread demand for special knowledge and special characteristics for the horses used in therapeutic and supportive activities for humans, we often only hear about “well-educated horses” without referring to further details. Often no relation is given between requirements and performance of the horses. For this reason it is essential to define binding training goals for horses used in therapeutic and supportive activities for humans.
A further intensive research in this area offers an immense potential to boost the quality and efficiency standard of therapeutic and supportive activities for humans working with horses. These measures will also considerably help to promote public interest and scientific acceptance.