CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN EQUESTRIAN PSYCHOLOGY
C.W.2. CRITIQUE OF AREAS DISCUSSED IN SEMINAR PRESENTATIONS
This report will discuss the three areas discussed in the seminar presentations given at Northop campus during the month of January 2011.it will discuss the areas highlighted in the seminars, the findings each of the candidates presented and then the additional information found in independent research after the seminar date.
SEMINAR AREA 1. - THE USE OF THE HORSE AS A THERAPY AID.
This presentation was well constructed and ordered. The candidate was well prepared and knew the subject area well. The facts the candidate presented information on the licencing body that governs therapy assisted programs and the positive effects that horses have upon the humans in contact with them. The literature presented showed proof of this through journal articles. Another issue discussed was the effect that the human had upon the horse. The findings the candidate presented indicated that this effect was not as positive for the horse as it was for the human , however it was further noted that much more work has to be done upon this subject to fully evaluate the effects of stress upon the horse during a therapy session. The candidate discussed the different groups of individuals that may benefit from interacting with the horse as a therapy aid and also the groups that may compromise equine welfare. These groups are indicated in their lack of intra personal communication skills and therefore are unable to recognise the subtle cues given by the horse Upon further investigation it is further evident that humans experience positive outcomes from their interactions with horses. There appears to be much work undertaken into the positive effects that horses have upon humans in all contexts. This can be seen in a research paper by Frewin and Gardiner (2009) in their review of equine assisted psychotherapy, they indicate that psychotherapy equine assistance is now recognised as an effective treatment strategy for a number of client groups. In a further paper by the Western journal of nursing research (2002) written by Martin and Farnum they discuss how equine or assisted programs are used to aid children with persuasive developmental disorders. Their discussions indicate a further bank of evidence that all animal assisted therapies have noted positive effects for the humans involved. This can be further represented in papers by Berget et al (2008), Shultz et al (2007), Haycock and Catril,(2006) & Hakanson et al(2009).
None of the literature studied indicated a negative effect for horses involved in therapy sessions. Further work must be undertaken to evidence this notion.
SEMINAR AREA 2.-BITS
This presentation was also well constructed with lots of history about the use of bits and an interactive display of several different types. There was a discussion by the candidate into fluoroscopy and a presentation of the newest type of bit to enhance welfare considerations. The candidate displayed this type of bit and demonstrated the feel of a twist in a human hand to indicate the feeling in a horse’s mouth. The Sprenger bit appeared to be much gentler upon rotation and its compound carefully researched Upon further investigation there appears to be several areas to research within this one topic alone. The topic of fluoroscopy and the effects of the position in the horse’s mouth is an area that is under researched from an ethical equitation perspective. A research paper written by Quick and Warren Smith (2009) indicates that horses’ that had bits used on them during phases of foundation training reacted less positively than those horses with bit less bridles used. However their paper did indicate that this was only a preliminary investigation and much more work had to be undertaken to fully qualify their findings.
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