Jamie L. Lucas, PsyD, is a 2012 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University New England.

Dissertation Committee

  • Victor Pantesco, Ed.D. (Committee Chair)
  • Barbara Belcher-Timme, Psy.D. (Committee Member)
  • Elaine Campbell, Psy.D. (Committee Member)


therapeutic riding program, hippotherapy, equine therapy, emotional well-being, equine-assisted activities, equine-facilitated psychotherapy, quality of life, positive affect, life satisfaction, self-esteem, adults

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Therapeutic interventions with horses are increasing and utilized to treat a number of ailments, including psychological ones. Despite the growth of these interventions, there has been little research performed, particularly quantitative, to determine efficacy. One proposed benefit of therapeutic riding, a particular type of intervention involving horses, is that it enhances or improves emotional well-being. This construct has been poorly defined and operationalized in the literature. The current study sought to operationalize and measure emotional well-being using a multidimensional model. Three proposed sub-domains of emotional well-being: positive affect, life satisfaction, and self-esteem were measured in adults prior to and after participation in a 12 week therapeutic horseback riding program. No significant differences were found from pre-test to post-test in any of the three domains. Lack of participation and thus a low sample size of adults contributed to the lack of significance. The findings suggest a need for further studies on the impact of therapeutic riding on emotional well-being, and suggestions are made for evaluation to be an ongoing and inclusive part of therapeutic riding programs.